Tuesday, November 27, 2007

work Week #??

So, I lost track of the work weeks. I think that is a good sign. We started back on Monday by going to the gym bright and early. I think it actually helped. I helped perk up my mood, gave me energy, and made it feel like Monday. I hardly made any money at Hunt Avenue today; I think only $80 in 8 hours. It was pretty slow, but had enough people filter through that I felt helpful. Rainbow's End did much better (maybe $400 - which is a really good day for them!). People are constantly complimenting the store - how clean it is, how big it looks, and so on. It feels really good. Vernon has done a lot. Jeremy worked on a logo for his non-pofit. It is pretty cool looking. I don't know if it is on the computer to upload and show you. If I can figure it out, I'll let you see it. Monday night I made tortellini soup for the unit. It was not as good as my mom's - I'll have to find out what she adds that is not on the recipe. In the evening (without The Bachelor to watch), we played a card game Jeff had brought called "Bang." It is definitely not a Mennonite game! :) It is kinda like the card game "Mafia", but much more advanced. It is pretty fun, and much less difficult than I pictured it to be.

Jeremy and I went to the gym again this morning (temperature check at 6:40am = 1 above 0... brrrr). This going everyday is something new I wanted to try; Jeremy's along for the ride this week. I am trying to get in shape for the volleyball league that I joined. It is a 4-on-4 women's league at the local rec center on Thursday nights starting in January. I can't hardly do one sprint down the basketball court, so I figure I have my work cut out for me. I am really looking forward to the start of the league. I am hoping for some good volleyball; it probably will be decent since you have to be pretty good to play 4 man volleyball successfully. Today at Rainbow's End I sorted the men's shirts out. They were definitely neglected! I will probably work on the men's jeans tomorrow. I will only have the dresses, skirts, maternity, children's clothes, and coats left to sort and size.

I finished the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult. It is about a fictional school shooting. I was very intrigued at the way she had organized the book - introducing the shooter and other characters and then linking their lives together through past and present stories. It was a well written book. Jeremy, on the other hand, reads books that make him smarter (rather just entertain him briefly). He finished Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. Now he is reading a book by Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation. If you have book suggestions for either us, let us know. My grandpa J. recommended The Worst Hard Times, a book about the Great Depression. I happened to find it at Rainbow's End, so I'll get around to that one.

I think that's all have to say today. Jeremy would probably say that I said plenty. I hope you are all recovering from the Thanksgiving weekend. I look forward to seeing many of you at Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chocolate, Anyone?

Today we ventured to Creede (see pic to the left). Jeremy and I had been there for a quick trip to the theatre once, but hadn't had time to really look around. This time the unit (and our guests) went to Creede for the annual Chocolate Festival. We bought a ticket ($10) to walk around town to 14 different stores, restaurants, and taverns to sample the homemade chocolate goodie they had created. The only two rules were 1) it must be homemade, and 2) it must have chocolate. We tasted things like fudge made with velveeta cheese (pretty good - Jeremy says it is the best of both worlds), raspberry fudge, Mexican spice hot chocolate (very thick consistency and a horrible taste - Jeremy says it is would you would get if you sneezed up pumpkin pie), cherry mash (like cough syrup with a bit of chocolate on top), peanut clusters (different than you would expect because the peanuts were raw and not salty), fat mints (cookie with chocolate chips and peppermint bits in them), Bailey's hot cocoa (they only asked if Jeremy and I were 21 years old - we are the oldest in our group... I guess we were flattered?), chocolate chip chocolate cookies (these were my favorite, plus they were served with ice cold milk), craisan and pecan clusters, and a pure, smooth creamy fudge (a blue ribbon winner in a 4-H competition at one time). There were a few more that I am forgetting, but you get the idea. It was a lot of fun - and a lot of chocolate! We also saw Santa Claus; he looked pretty wore out... and it's not even Christmas! :) We saw the current fire station built into the rocks; it looks like a pretty cool place to house fire trucks. We saw a bar named The Wild Beaver (this pics for you Sandy... and other Bluffton grads) I think that's it. It was a good day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

SNOW!!!

We had our first snowfall overnight. We woke up on Friday morning with the land covered in a blanket of snow - I would venture to guess six inches. Here are pictures from out the front door and the back door.
Jeremy and I also worked to bake our first apple pie together. I had never made a pie crust before - and he actually did that part of the pie. It tasted delicious, but didn't brown for some reason - even with over an hour in the oven! It was still fun to make and eat.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Well, I imagine that everyone ate turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes until they were about to burst and then managed a piece of pumpkin pie! Jeremy and I went to the shelter to help out with the Thanksgiving Day meal they put on. Many people volunteer to cook turkeys, make stuffing, whip up some mash potatoes, and bake some pies. Then, Paul heads up the kitchen happenings. Everyone who came to eat - homeless and others - has a seat and waits as other volunteers serve them food. It is a great sit down meal with cloth tablecloths, festive decorations, and much conversation. Jeremy and I were able to help serve. (That's Jeremy in the left photo serving.) There were LOTS of volunteers though so the serving went fast. I estimate that we had about 150 people there to eat. It was great. Before the meal, there was a basketball game happening outside, while inside you could chat and listen to the live music provided by a guitarist/singer. We enjoyed the time at the shelter. I was able to wish Happy Thanksgiving to the few people I did know from working there. On the way home, we picked up a hitchhiker (I have already heard all the lectures from the last time I did this... don't need them again.) Jeremy and I took Lowe on his way from Alamosa to Capulin (a town near La Jara). He had hitched a ride from Boulder the night before and was probably going to try to do the same thing in the next few days. He had been at the shelter enjoying the meal just like us!

We came home and went to Alice and Andy's house for our second feast of the day. The current MVSers were there, along with David and Emmy's friends from Indiana, a former MVSer and his wife, and Isabel. It was fun to laugh and talk. There is something about being in the presence of many people that makes a holiday feel like a holiday to me. I missed my family, but not nearly to the extent as if it would have just been me and Jeremy sitting around all day. When I called home in the morning, they were eating lunch and it sounded CRAZY!!! I will get to enjoy that at Christmas and am definitely looking forward to it. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday 11/21

Today was a fairly quiet day at the office. I was there all day because Rhonda had taken the day off. I worked on "Milagros Bucks" for a advertising thing for December. It takes a lot of time to get graphics and text to do what you want them to do. In the afternoon, Jeremy picked me up to go check the mail for work and visit the falcons. There is a group of Falconers in town; these are people who raise and train birds of prey. There was a demo in the morning, but I wasn't able to go. So, we just went to see the birds. It was actually pretty cool. You can see in the pic to the right the stands they had for the birds. I think there were at least 100 stands set up in this small area. It is a strange sight. We saw a golden eagle, a snowy owl, another bird that posed for our picture with its wings spread, and a few perigrine falcons. The Golden Eagle was definitely the largest of the birds. The Peregrines are small and beautiful birds.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday 11/20

Two things....
1. The day was beautiful - 60F and sunshine! The drive home provided a gorgeous sunset. We tried to capture it with a camera, but it is nearly impossible to do. Here are the two shots we took - one looking over the western mountain range (the San Juan), and one at Mt. Blanca. Enjoy!

2. I have to confess that ... we watch The Bachelor at the MVS house. Yes, I know it is not high quality television or even good reality TV, but nothing else to do on Monday night and it is a strange ritual we had for this season. (For those of you who know the Monday night line-up, we do watch most of Dancing with the Stars as well - can't believe Marie Osmond is still in!) Anyway, the final rose ceremony was Monday night with huge drama - it was unprecedented! The Bachelor picked - no one! I know, don' t fall off your chair! It was, actually, terribly sad. Two women had told him that they loved him opened their hearts up to him. (I do realize they chose to be on national television doing it, but still) He told both of them good-bye because he couldn't say he loved either one. I give him credit for being honest in the end, but he did a great job of leading them on throughout the show. I'll stop on my tirade. I realize that this has nothing really to do with what we do out here, but sometimes, that's okay.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday

I went to Hunt Ave Boutique to work today. I met some nice people who came in. There was one guy that hung around and talked for 2 HOURS to me. I would like to say he was interesting, but he was more controversial in my opinion - I just didn't agree with a lot of things he said and didn't really know how to disagree in a polite way. He comes in almost daily, so I tried to maintain good relations with the customer. There was a family who came in and purchased quite a few things; they were fun to listen to as they shopped.

Jeremy went to see the Grizzly Bear exhibit. Some of you may know of the cows that were placed around Chicago (I think) to encourage art and improve scenery. (Well, I don't really know why they were there, but this is my best guess.) Anyway, these Grizzly Bears were created out of fiberglass and given to local artist to decorate. They will be auctioned off at the Charity Ball in early December put on by Valley Wide Health Center in Alamosa. All proceeds of the charity ball and the auction of the bears goes to support La Puente. They expect to raise $10,000 per bear; there are 8 bears total. Jeremy said the bears were pretty cool. Hopefully, the exhibit will be open tomorrow and I can get out to go see them. If I do, I will take my camera and post some pics.

Have a great Thanksgiving week - and don't forget to RELAX during the week, too!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Rest of the Week

I have been a little unpredictable about my blogs; my goal is to try to blog at least 3-5 times a week. For those who glance daily/weekly for updates, thank you. I appreciate people taking time to sneak a peek at what's happening here.

My incident with Bill at Hunt Ave Boutique (rearranging his stuff) turned out fine. He was not mad at me; so that's good. I rearranged the women's jeans - two day project - for the rest of the week. The store is looking much better. They are trying to clean it up and keep things that way. There have been many compliments from customers, and that feels good to the staff.

Friday night, Andy, Alice, and Isabel (their daughter) came over for supper. Jeremy and I were in charge of the cooking for this one. We made soft tacos and salsa black bean soup with bread pudding and chocolate sauce for dessert. It has been fun to cook with Jeremy. We didn't have that opportunity much in Columbus because we would get home from work at different hours. This - assigned cooking nights - has forced us to do it. Jeremy worked on all the taco stuff - browning meat, chopping, grating, etc. I worked on the salsa bean soup (a new recipe for me), bread pudding, and chocolate sauce. The meal turned out well; the bread pudding was tasty as well, but had deflated when I removed it from the oven - a hazard of the high altitude.

Saturday, Jeremy and I woke up "early" to go watch the Ohio State v. Michigan game at the home of some church friends, Eric and Tessa. He grew up in Ohio and is, therefore, a Buckeye fan. The game, as you may recall was a nice noon start time - great time for you eastern folks. 10am seems a little early to begin the festivities for a big game day, but nonetheless off we went to enjoy it with fellow Buckeye fans. It was a good time to hang out with new people and try to form some friendships outside of the unit house. They have a 75-lb German short-haired named Blue that sheds horribly! I couldn't believe how much hair a dog with such short hair could lose with one pat of the hand. He is a sweetheart, however. We offered to pet sit when they need one.

Today we had a Thanksgiving feast after church. It was an organized Thanksgiving Day potluck - a delicious head start to the real deal on Thursday. It led to an afternoon nap for me :) Tonight we have Bible study together. Then we return to our positions of service tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Work Week #13

The weekend was amazing. I did absolutely nothing. I know that was very lazy, but it was just what I needed. I slept in, cleaned, went for a walk, watched TV (football, of course); Jeremy and I went on a hot date to McDonald's on Saturday night (I wanted ice cream from there); went to church (Lighthouse, again), went to the Conejos County library hoping to find a movie (nothing but educational ones), but found a few good books, read, played Taboo and a speed game of Trivial Pursuit. Okay, when I list it like that it looks like I did something, but the turth is I did only what I wanted to do - and that makes all the difference.

Monday was a difficult day to get up, probably because I had been so lazy all weekend. I worked at Hunt Ave Boutique, so that Bill could have a day off of work. Do you ever do something that you know you'll regret, but you have no choice except to do it? Monday was one of those days. Steve (my boss) said, "Erin, I want you to clean out behind Bill's counter and get this counter cleaned off." (Bill tends to work in piles.) I said, "Steve, Bill will be so mad!" He had me go ahead and do it anyway. I worked on putting piles into labeled boxes, vacuuming, throwing away the trash that cluttered his area, and just tidying up. I thought it looked pretty nice - after spending 5 hours on it!

Fast Forward to today - Vernon (manager at the Boutique) calls to give me the "heads up" that Bill is not just mad, he is furious! Bill, even when furious, doesn't look angry, but then again, he hardly gets mad. I feel horrible. I know that it was not my fault because I had to do what Steve told me to. Bill said he worked for two hours trying to find where everything was. He said it is like when you have company over and they do the dishes and put everything away in the wrong place. I can imagine what it felt like, but at the same time I don't think that I put things in to many wrong places. I tried to keep his inventory books where they were visible, as well as all his pricing supplies. I threw nothing away except old receipts and actual trash. I labeled all the boxes by category and then stacked them by category as well - all the jewelry in one pile, clothes in another, collectibles in another. But maybe it wasn't so clear to Bill. I am see-sawing between feeling bad and feeling annoyed that he couldn't figure out the system. I am sure (if I would have gone there today) he would have everything all over the counter, on the floor, and in his special piles. Well, I tried and I am a good listener. :)


Otherwise, nothing much happening at work. On Friday (sorry, I am skipping around a bit), Jeremy went out to do some sampling on the Rio Grande. They had to do cross-sections at different points of the river. When I climbed in the car after work and asked how his day was he said, "I almost got swept away." I asked if he was serious. He said that the river was powerful in some areas and quite deep. Luckily, he is still with us today. In reality, he said if he was swept away, he would have only traveled about 10 yards or so before hitting shallower water. Good thing; he had me scared for awhile.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Almost Friday

Well, the week continues. I don't know if the day went any faster today, but yesterday it was like every hour was a brick wall. I even had things to do, which usually helps time pass quickly. Today, I worked at the office in the morning. I didn't have a whole lot to do - some things for Lance, a large poster for Rainbow's End, no thank yous!, and some paper shredding. I went to Rainbow's End in the afternoon. My big project was to reorganize the women's shirts. They were by color and then by size - ie all blue shirts were together and then sized, all red shirts together then sized. I didn't so much enjoy having to hang items on the rack because if I had 5 medium shirts in my hands, I would have to travel to (potentially) 5 different racks. And what do you do with a multicolored shirt that had no dominant color??? Oh, the questions you could ask when hanging clothing. Now, all medium shirts are hung together - there is no color discrimination within the shirt section any longer! It literally took me from 1pm until 5pm to do this one project. The shirts were not always hung in the correct size anyway, so I looked at each individual shirt today. I also threw (sent to the baling machine) a number of women's blazers. Think back to Designing Women with muliple colors, bold patterns, and huge shoulder pads. I figured I would just be the fashion police in that area of clothing. It never hurts to save someone the embarrassment.

Last night we ate supper with Alice and Andy (our MVS leaders). We exchange a meal with them each week - one week they cook, the next week we cook. It is a good system we have. Last night, we went to their house and added a movie to our evening activities. David and Emmy had just bought the newly released Pixar film, Ratatouille. (I am pretty sure I spelled that wrong, but I don't feel like looking it up to change it.) If you have not seen this movie, I recommend it. I am not always really into renting (or paying for a ticket) an animated movie, but I did really enjoy this one. It makes you laugh, and you actually feel a bond with a rat! Anyway, that's about it for what I have to say. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. We have no plans this weekend, and that is fine with me! Have a great Friday, Everyone.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Work Week #11

Well, it is Monday. Monday, Monday, Monday. Jeremy and I went to the gym this morning - in the light!! I cannot believe what a one hour time change will do. I will say it is easier to get out of bed in the morning when the sun is actually coming up. It really stinks to leave work at 5pm, and it is getting very dark! I can pretty much guarentee that running after work will be even more difficult to get motivated to do. I am sure I will get used to it.

I was at Hunt Ave. Boutique alllllll daaaaaay. It was not incredibly busy, but no Monday really is. I sold very few products from TTV big sale. It was only the first day, but still. It is a little deflating. One couple though was telling me how cool the stuff was; that helped me feel a little better.

Jeremy had some meeting at work. Tomorrow he is going to go to a gathering in Gunnison with - as far as he knows - only 2 other people. They are sharing data and learning from each other about their research on the Arkansas River. He is going as a learning experience because his organization is going to do a similar thing in the spring. Jeremy won the National Championship game with the Titans going undefeated in the Big 10 to get there. This is all, of course, on the PS2. It is his new challenge. I didn't realize there were so many possibilities. I thought since he won the National Championship his PS2 days were over, but I was wrong. He now is the ONU team playing in the MAC. However, he made his skill level a little lower, so he may have to work a bit to win.

I made English Muffin Bread for supper tonight (scrambled eggs, bacon, and English Muffin Bread). I love English Muffin Bread, and it actually baked well even though it was a yeast bread. Those who know what English Muffin Bread is, are probably a bit jealous; those who don't know the goodness of English Muffin Bread have no idea what I am talking about - I am sorry. Remind me when I get home, and I may make you some! Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Weekend Events

Well, the weekend came and went. We did go to Taos, but we didn't build the horno oven as planned. Somehow that fell through. We saw lots of things on the way to Taos; I will highlight them for you....

the recycled castle in Antonito (again) - see previous post for pic

earthship colony - no, this is not some alien thing. It is a place where lots of supposed environmentalists have built homes called "earthships" out of tires, adobe, glass bottles, etc. They run their homes "off the grid." If you don't know what this means (which I didn't until moving here), it means that they use all natural means of powering their daily life. For example, they have sunrooms for warmth and growing things, solar panels for electricity, and rainwater catches which they use for a water source (but maybe not for drinking - I don't know how they get their drinking water), and other things. I say these are supposed environmentalists because many of these homes are second homes for people - seems to be a little contradictory to their cause... The homes are pretty though with the colored glass bottles making mosaics for the sun to filter through or just as decoration.
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Rio Grande Gorge bridge. This was pretty darn cool. We drove on the mostly flat terrain and came upon this bridge. It is "The Most Beautiful Steel Bridge" (long span, second longest cantilever - if you know what that means). This award was given in 1966 by the American Institute of Steel Construction. It is a nice bridge, but the drop down the gorge is more impressive. It is 640 feet to the bottom, but feels like even more. I think it felt like the bottom was farther than when I stood on the Golden Gate Bridge, which I am pretty sure is higher. Anyway, it was an amazing sight. If I had been a pioneer riding my horse, it would have been frightening and disheartening to come upon this.. of course, you would have only thought these things if you didn't plummet over the edge!
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Finally, we arrived in Taos. It is a cute little town with LOTS of art galleries and shops. It has a great pizza place - Pizza OutBack - that Jeremy's brother had recommended to us. Great variety of pizza you can order by the slice, so, we all tried something different. I don't really have pictures of Taos; it is not necessarily a photogenic town, at least not from where we were at. I will include the only picture I have from the square in town; you can see Jeremy and Jeff walking toward me.

Sunday, we went back to the Lighthouse Church. The people there are friendly; I think we will probably make this our church home. Jeremy watched the Patriots vs. Colts game - a disappointing loss by the Colts. I hear that the game was probably not seen by many Ohioans since the Browns were playing (and losing) at the same time. We may not get the Buckeyes (who continue their winning streak), but we get "the game fo the century" as Jeremy kept calling it. :) We had worship and devotions Sunday night - hopefully getting back into the routine of game night/devotion night each week. That was about it for our weekend.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Work Week #10

Well, the week is almost up, and I am only now writing. I will have to improve my blogging practices next week. This week, although uneventful, has been busy for me at work. The new manager, Vernon, at Rainbow's End officially began this week. He has great ideas for what he would like to happen in the store, but the transition period will be a little shaky. It takes time to retrain people and get them - and the community - to break bad habits. We are going to be more picky with acceptance of donations - that way our quality of product improves in the store, and people will take pride in their donations. I worked on an ad for the newspaper for next week. I have no idea what makes for a good ad, but I managed to create one. Maybe I can put it on the blog and you can view it.

I have been continuing to unpack and arrange our small area for Ten Thousand Villages (TTV). This picture shows almost all of the store area TTV takes up. About the only thing you can't see is the jewelry case. Steve (my boss) keeps saying, "Order more stuff for TTV." I keep saying, "I want to know what will sell before I keep spending more money." I suppose I should get a preliminary order ready. It would be bad if the store was empty after the first week. We are selling the new items at 20% off to get people in to buy them. I think that is a good deal. The cookbooks will only be around $16 with the discount. I opened the package to the Simply in Season cookbook (great cookbook by the way; if you don't have it, go get one!) and noticed the new hardback cover with the spiral enclosed. I liked it.

Jeremy is still working. I think he is a little bored - not given enough projects at this point. He has been trying to train on this ARC mapping software at the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service). Unfortunately, there has been some sort of computer glich that has held him up - the joys of technology.

We got our first package in the mail on Monday. It felt like when you are at college and get a care package at exam time. It was just a great surprise because we weren't expecting it. (I am not writing this so you all go and send a package; we definitely don't expect that!) It is great to see comments on the blog, to hear from our parents that people have talked to them about our blog, to know people are continuing to pray for us, and to have phone calls from home. We have definitely felt the support of friends and family both while we prepared to come and now that we are here. Thank you for not forgetting us! You are not forgotten either. (Yes, I know that "you" is a pretty general pronoun, but no one wants to read the list of all the people we remember!)

People have asked us if we are enjoying our time here, if it is all we hoped it would be, if we miss home, etc. I have a hard time answering questions like those. We are enjoying the time we have in Colorado with MVS. I think having an opportunity to serve is never a bad thing. I am learning that each time I serve, I learn something about myself - in Mozambique, I learned that I need at least one other person to energize me; here, I am learning that I need a work environment with a variety of people that I relate with daily. I don't necessarily work with a lot of people. I do a lot of behind the scenes work, and I miss that people interaction. I think I would say that I don't miss Ohio - the state. There isn't a huge spot in my heart that feels Ohio is the best place in the world. I like it - the hills, the colors, the Amish :) But I don't know if there is any one place/state/country that I would feel a deep longing to live in forever. That being said, I miss the people. I miss friendships that were beginning in Columbus, my family, longtime friends spread out around the state and neighboring states. I just miss the people. If we could just convince everyone to move here, I would be perfectly happy to stay here. :) I have not formed deep relationships here yet - but I've only been here a couple months. We'll see what happens as the year progresses. I look forward to Christmas time to visit with the part of Ohio we do miss - the people. Did I say I miss all of you people??? :)

Anyway, this has gotten long winded. Congratulations to those who made it to the end with only one picture to spur you on! We are headed to Taos this weekend to help build a horno - Mexican oven - for Jeff's boss. We will also do a little exploring around the town. I am sure I will come back with some pictures. Until then, have a great Friday and weekend.