Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Minutia of my day

I made it to the DMV before it closed and was so glad that I was not in the line to get my license renewed. THAT line was reeeeeally long. As I stood thankfully in my short line to get my registration stamped, I heard a very LOUD yell of exultation from a young man who was talking to the person at the license desk. I think he had found out that he passed his test or something. Either that, or he was extremely pleased with the way his picture turned out.

I pulled a muscle in my left shoulder yesterday. You'll never guess how. I threw some heavy bags of garbage into the dumpster at school and I used my left arm which is my weaker arm- as my right arm was full of books- and I guess I just did it in an ergonomically incorrect way. I feel ridiculous and pathetic. I move around like a mobile statue...or someone who is paralyzed from the waist up. It's incredible how such a little deed as tossing some garbage bags can reap such huge results in terms of bodily pain. Actually, I'm feeling better today...It's weird when you are trying to back your car up and you can't really turn to look behind you without turning your whole body.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Behind the scenes: here is Claire being her silly self while constructing her recent entry. She looks like she is imitating a rhino or something. Actually, that is her patented way of scratching her nose. Posted by Hello

Talk about Raining on the Parade...

I am currently sitting in Keene's Ritz Camera, visiting Brad. I just checked for comments on my last post...and found no new feedback. Brad scrolled down through the long entry, and said that it was TOO LONG...Actually, "TMI" were his exact words...er, letters. "See?" he said. " Only Derrick made it all the way through." So I am blogging with the intent to be brief and show him that I can in fact, rein in my loquacious ways, AND use paragraphs.

I just took part in a Memorial Day parade. Well, not really. To be truthful, I was stuck waiting as the Memorial Day parade trotted out onto 101 in Marlborough about five or six cars ahead of me. I could have kicked myself, being not a little irritated. It's not even Memorial Day yet! I had just been weighing the options of whether to get gas at Wilbers or wait until tomorrow to get gas. I decided to get it today...If I hadn't done that, I would have missed being trapped by the parade. I felt a small pang of something ( evil joy maybe) because it had just started to seriously rain as the parade swung out onto 101. Ha. But as I sat there, being irritated at this delay, I realized that by sitting there in the rain, listening to my stomach growl with hunger, adopting a good attitude, letting the parade go ahead of me, I was honoring many a brave soldier who had risked his life to ensure my liberty. To zoom ahead, horn honking, risking life and limb, and scattering pedestrians in my wake would not have been honoring them. So I decided to honor them. And then I called Brad and we talked. I'm glad cell phones were invented. I can honor my country and talk to my husband at the same time. Modern life is indeed marvelous.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Claire's Believe-it-Or-Not

After six straight days of rain and cloudiness, I felt I could relate a little bit to what Noah and his family must have felt upon the morning of the forty first day of their voyage. Or how Puddleglum, Jill and what's-his-name must have felt upon seeing the sun after they emerged from their underground stay. I know- they first came out at night...but...when they did see the sun, it must have been like, " YEAH! We were RIGHT! The sun wasn't just a myth!!"

When I went to get my car registered with the little old lady on Wednesday, I felt like I had stepped into a time warp. The people, furnishings, decorations- all caused me to think that I was in a Norman Rockwell painting of an Amish farm house from the 1950's. Extremely spartan. These people had definitely not fallen into the trap of materialism. Lois, the little old lady seemed old and fragile in some ways, but her skin looked strangely young; in fact, she looked otherworldly. She talked so quietly and gently that I had to ask her to repeat herself. Her husband sat nearby, reading a paper. Maybe they are aliens.

Yesterday I received the check I had written her for the state fee in the mail. I was bewildered. I called her and she said I had to take it down to the DMV so they would stamp my registration and give me my little license plate decals. ( I had wondered about where those decals were going to come from...) DUH. Well, WHY DID YOU TAKE IT FROM ME? WHY didn't you tell me that when I gave it to you?! I am annoyed. I try to avoid the DMV at all costs. And the only time they're open is on Tuesday afternoon...They close at 4:15. I think I might JUST be able to make it after work. Great. The last day of May. Try as I may, I am being time-CRUNCHED again. RRRRGH.

Quite a lot has been going on at the Shelter. The whole back of the house got destroyed this week. I looked out the window of the classroom one morning and saw they had taken off the back shed/overhang thingy...and fifteen minutes later, the whole barn/extension was just a munga pile of rubble. Amazing. We had lunch brought over to us in the trailer that day because the whole house was shaking violently at one point during the destruction. Hmmm. So we have these big old machines digging around in the back...and at the same time, for some reason unknown to me, huge machines from the town are digging up the sidewalk in front of our house. So...we have to take this circuitous route over to the classroom. All the girls and the staff have to cross the street on the crosswalks, walk about half a block, and then cross the street again. It almost made me laugh yesterday. I felt like we were a parade... traffic was stopped and everything. Sometimes we are carrying things like bags of trash ( the dumpster is now located by the trailer) or a bowl of fruit- for snacktime- which makes me feel all the more bizarre. Yes! Here we are! The Trash and Fruit Parade! All we need now are band instruments, a baton twirler, and some of those Shriner guys on the mini cars.

To get to the classroom, we have to cross a field of mud...a wide swath of dirt left from the town's earlier vain endeavor to locate the sewer pipe. Some people have gotten seriously mired this week as the rain made this place a horrible mess. I was successful in finding safe passage through the mud, until yesterday when I chose my route badly, and my foot suddenly sank down, down, down...and my little felty-clog shoe looked like a mud monster had tried to eat it.

One of the girls was telling me about how desparate she feels after going two weeks without seeing any boys her age. She proceeded to tell me that on one trip over to the classroom ( when I hadn't been with them), a small fleet of buses drove by them, populated entirely with boys. It must have been a magical moment as all the girls looked up and beheld a steady stream of boys gazing down upon them from the buses. I think some pointing and waving ensued and this girl's day was made. I smiled.

I was helping another girl do a worksheet on Africa, which was our theme this week. One of the questions had something to do with religion, and the answer involved the concept of ancestor worship. As I feebly tried to explain the idea, and she began to write it down, I noticed with huge amusement ( which I successfully hid) that her misspelling of the word 'ancestor' was one of the funniest things I'd seen all week. " Ant-sister." " Oops, " she said. " I forgot the 'u'." She plugged it in to make the word spell " aunt-sister." I said nothing. I thought that was quite creative, in fact.

Okay- one more story. I was driving home from work, saw a sign for a yard sale at the Sullivan Fire Department, and decided to check it out. It was pretty much a huge fire department-garage full of junk, but I did manage to find a few books. Of course. Always books. Anyway, while there, I heard some people talking about this other yardsale on a nearby road. So after finishing up, I drove off to find this other place, which was reputed to be an old lady who was selling everything in the house. An El-Dorado for yardsalers, if there ever was one. I should have known better than to trust the rumors of promise about another little old lady. Two in one week! I never found the yardsale but I had fun driving around old, dirt back-roads. It seems the farther you drive away from Route 9, the more civilization recedes. The absolute nadir came when I found a bonified Red-Neck Compound. I saw a yard with several old trucks and junky farming stuff...and one of the trucks, a lurid combination of rust and wild painting, had these words emblazoned in black on the top of the windshield: "The Beast From the East." WOW. I kid you not. Even after I found that the road eventually came out in a familiar place, I actually turned around to come back and look at the truck again. Yes, it was still there. It still said the same thing. Who knew that it lived in Sullivan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Small Town Life

You know you live in a small town when... you've lived here for about ten months and you're not sure where the town hall is ( you need to register your car). SO, you stop at the country general store ( of course) and ask. And THIS is when you KNOW you live in a REALLY small town. The clerk tells you that you don't even need to go to the town offices. You can just GO to this old lady's HOUSE and pay her there. My word. ( I'm going tomorrow afternoon.)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Confessions of a Slacker Wife

I have this thing about silverware; I hate washing it. I guess I have known this a long time, but our last apartment had a dishwasher and so the full measure of my loathing for this chore never fully came to light until we moved here to Sullivan. Our current apartment, while charming in many ways, lacks that most noble kitchen appliance: the dishwasher. I have become that appliance...and not a fully functioning one, I must say.

I knew we had reached a serious point when Brad couldn't find a spoon in the silverware drawer last night. No clean spoons. And almost no forks or knives either. The time had come. You know it's time to bite the bullet and wash the silverware when there are no clean utensils left. So I resolved to do something about it...soon. All the other dishes were cleaned up...but somehow, I can never manage to make myself do the silverware. There's something indescribably tedious about fishing around in soapy water, and coming up with a fistful of mishmashed silverware...whose business ends are facing all sorts of ways...and then you have to make them all face the same way before you can wash them...oh...it makes me weak with loathing just thinking about it. I know I'm a wimp. Well, not a total wimp because frying pans I will wash, dishes I will wash, pots and pans I will scrub ( although, I really don't like muffin tins), but silverware...? It gives me the hibbly jibblies.

Yes, I am ashamed. I am fully aware that many of you are probably shaking your heads, crinkling up your noses, and thinking disparaging thoughts about what a disgusting housekeeper I am. I'm sorry. I really feel bad about it. But, reader, look deep into your heart and I think you will have to confess to someTHING that constitutes YOUR housekeeping nemesis. Maybe it's the dustbunnies under your bed...maybe it's the grime that collects in the small space between the back of the bathroom sink and the wall, maybe it's vacuuming under furniture...We have all fallen short of the perfectly clean house at some point.

I saw a book today in Toadstool Bookstore. The title was Confessions of a Slacker Wife. I chuckled. I thought of my kitchen sink, whose bottom could scarcely be seen for the mass of unwashed silverware which clogged its depths. I came home and looked into the kitchen sink. It reminded me of the dry bones in Ezekiel. So I washed the silverware. At least, most of it.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Brad and I were in Blockbuster for the first time in a long time and as we were checking out, we were trying to figure out whose name was on the account. It wasn't his and it wasn't mine. Hmmm. Then we realized it was in my maiden name. As the clerk was updating the information, he asked if we still wanted Andrew Murray on our account. I was sort of shocked for a second, and just sort of murmured no...and then Brad told the clerk who Andrew was and why he didn't need to be on the account...and then Brad and I both started laughing a little bit. I said, " If he does come in to use our account, let us know, okay?" I think the clerk was a little weirded out. It was so bizarre...and sad...and sweet at the same time. Sweet because I am aware with the changing seasons that the world has seemed to forget Andrew; he has dropped out of the "system" and to even have a video store clerk mention his name was like the world hadn't forgotten him, in a strange way. I know it doesn't make sense but it felt like a validation of his existence. He's not just a concept or an idea; he's a person who just doesn't live here anymore. I'm sad that I said no; I wish I had just left his name on the account. But I'm so glad Brad was there to laugh with me; I don't know if I would have laughed if he hadn't been there. But thankfully, his presence helped me to see the humor in the situation...and it made me really wish I could tell Andrew about it. Someday I will.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Rabid Weasel Friends

Liane's recent post reminded me of our recent visit from some Northern White Weasel friends of ours. They are fun to have around, but watch out for that one on the left. He is a rabid blogger and secretly plans to take over the world. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

AGS Vignettes

The other day, I took some of the girls for a walk. We saw a couple of ducks by the side of the road, and as we were fairly close to them, this yielded the opportunity for better observation. "Look!" said one of the girls. " They have plastic things between their toes!" " You mean their webbed feet?" said another girl. Yeah. That's what it was. Talk about city girls.

I had an awful case of the hiccups yesterday at work. It was kind of embarrassing. In fact, at one point, I had to ask my colleague, Donna, to pick up one of the phone lines to communicate a message to a probation officer on my behalf, because I didn't trust myself to get on the phone. I just didn't think it would sound too wholesome to have wild sounding hiccups while talking to someone in the juvenile justice system.

Matt was explaining what a safecracker was to the girls today. It was a word in one of the readings they were doing for social studies. He wanted them to understand all the terms used, and clarified the situation so they wouldn't think that it was ( in his words) a "comfortable white person."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Friday the Thirteenth- not a Good Omen, eh?

Let me tell you about my birthday. But first, as a bit of background, let me tell you about the day before. Let me warn you- this is way too detailed and may be boring. Read at your own risk.

Thursday, May 12, was the departure date of Madame Defarge a.k.a the Evil Incarnate Resident. Great was my rejoicing- inwardly. Of course, outwardly, it would have been a mistake to sing the Hallelujah chorus or shout for joy. But then, I heard that a past resident, Miss Drama Queen a.k.a. Brat of the Ages, was arriving that same day. Ah, woe is me. I was overseeing some standardized tests when this latest terror on two legs arrived. The strange thing was, shortly after she arrived, she was no longer ON two legs. I still don't have the whole story straight in my mind, but apparently, the mother came to drop the girl off and left two small children in her vehicle in the driveway...which slopes down to the road. Rumor has it that while the mother was up on the third floor, she sent her daughter down to look after the children; the girl went out and the vehicle was rolling in some fashion. I don't know how it happened but she fell...and sprained or strained her ankle. Yes, truly and aptly is she named The Drama Queen. So all of a sudden I hear these piercing, shrill screams. I can't leave the two students that I am with, and in fact, I thought that at first the screams were coming from the other girls doing P.E. outside. But the mother came BARRELING down the stairs at an unbelievable speed and went out to deal with the situation. A workman, yes, one of the same strange workmen that appeared out of the blue to test the fire alarms, was puttering around at the time and divulged the information that he had just seen a girl lying on the ground outside. Knowing this girl, I was not surprised. This is her fourth stay at the Shelter and the last time she was here, she had a cast on her arm. Also, during another stay, she insisted upon being taken to the ER as she was convinced her appendix was bursting. This is also the girl who, the last time she was here, brought a knife to the classroom, and was kicked out of class almost every day. And every time she comes, she consistently chooses ME as her "advocate."Anyway, I don't know if the car rolled or not because the two children were just fine...but who would leave them in the CAR? Okay, I won't go there. I am not a mother and cannot judge. So the girl was hopping around on one foot and fortunately we had crutches upstairs in the nurse's office.

The arrival of this girl, plus the fact that it had been kind of a stressful week, and another girl had been a major gritchy all week, ( yes, I am dubbing the word" gritchy" a noun as well as an adjective) plus Matt and Randa- the program director- were not going to be there all day,...all these facts combined to make me sense a nameless dread welling up in the pit of my stomach as I drove to work on my birthday morn. I would have given almost anything not to go to work. I hoped against hope that my newly inspected car would develop a major problem and break down, not too far from home. I prayed HARD that somehow God would make the day go well and also told Brad to pray for that as I left...Well, one thing clued me in that it might not be as bad a day as I had thought... due to circumstances that would take too long to explain, I had to leave about half an hour earlier than I normally do and because I left early, the sun glare was not a big problem. So, no hanging out my car window like a dog on my birthday! Still, I was not convinced that this was signalling a major upswing for the day.

But somehow, the day proceeded like a DREAM. I was agog with how well the girls were getting along with each other; there had been some major tensions between some of them all week. It was nothing short of a massive miracle. Now, this did not mean that the day went without a hitch, but we all managed to roll with the punches.

One of the aforementioned hitches was the fact that the classroom was locked when we went over there...I stood there with all the girls lined up behind me waiting, the door refusing to open, no key of my own, Linda's keys locked inside, and Matt absent, with the day off. Leaving the girls with Linda and Donna, I ran back to the house, found Joann, the secretary, and asked for her key. She said she had left her keys across the street at the hardware store yesterday to make some copies of them. She ran across the street and was back in five minutes. Once inside the classroom, we realized that the small office -where the phone, fax, and copier are lodged- was locked as well. No one had a key for that. ( I think Matt has one...but that didn't do us much good.) So, Linda's plans for the day were thrown into disarray because she needed the copier for Language Arts...and there were several other things in that office that we needed. Hmm. But again, everyone stayed relaxed and calm, and we all rolled with the punches. Some of the girls offered to pick the lock, which was gratefully acknowledged but declined, and Joann and I walked around outside trying the screens of the windows, which didn't budge ( I was secretly glad because the last thing I wanted to do on my birthday was climb awkwardly into a window while the entire town of Antrim watched). Anyway, eventually we got a locksmith person in who took almost the entire morning to get it open...and then in the afternoon, we had another guy come in to install a new door handle thingy as the old one was rendered kaput during the operation.

At the end of "Morning Meeting", Linda announced that the next thing on the agenda was my birthday! The girls all sang Happy Birthday and gave me a card and a gift. The also had made a cake for me - and a large frosted cookie/pie- that we ate during snack time later in the day. And the sun was shining and we had chicken enchiladas for lunch...and there were no major tantrums...So I was ecstatic. I told the girls that their good behavior was the best birthday present they could have given me and I was grateful.

I came home giddy with disbelief, puttered, went for a walk, and was picked up by my homeward driving husband bearing roses and other gifts, got a phone call from Sarah, and then went out to a wonderful dinner. Upon arriving at home, I found birthday cards in our mail basket, and listened with great fondness, to Liane and Ethan singing Happy Birthday on my answering machine. THANKYOU! That was so precious. So it was a marvelous, unexpectedly happy day. And this posting is proof that I DO know how to use paragraphs - somewhat.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Birthday Girl

It's Claire's birthday today!
Happy b-day, sweetheart! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Idiot Turkeys

Okay- to put the whole Math Genius thing ( from the other day) in perspective, I overheard the girl I referred to in the last blog...and she was not sure about 2 + 3 equaling 5...so I had to question her diagnosis of me having a superior brain.

I have seen many a wild turkey by the side of the road as I have driven Route 9 to work in the last 10 months. Sometimes I have seen them crossing the road, but usually they do everything at a doddering, deliberate pace. Today I spied yet another member of that noble species which would have been our national bird if it was up to Ben Franklin. ( I THINK this is actually true.) Anyway, Mr. Gobbler seemed to be strutting away from the road in a westerly direction. As I approached him at the speed of somewhere between 55 and 60 mph, he did an about face and FLUNG himself with all possible speed towards me...or rather, at the spot I estimated that I would be in about three seconds. Fortunately, I was wrong. He launched into the air just as I passed him and I caught a glimpse of him in my rear view mirror sailing awkwardly across the highway. My adrenaline was roaring at about 100 mph. I thought for a second there that I was going to have to make a strange call to our State Farm Insurance agent about a collision with a 30 pound bird. I have never seen one of them fly. Short, fluttering hops maybe, but never a full fledged flight. It was weird...like he had reached the taking-off end of the runway, turned around and hurled himself into flight. It's just an unfortunate coincidence that his runway happened to intersect Route 9. The planning and zoning turkeys are going to hear about this one.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Brain is Not For Rent

Okay...I just need to post something...ANYTHING...to get that picture off the "front page" of our poor blog. It's kinda disturbing. And what's more scary- we have had more hits on our blog lately to see that than we have had in a long while! In short, it's time to move on...and expunge the "lurking horror" from the topmost post.

Okay! So! Today's news! Um...I was helping some girls with math today. Yes - me! And I showed this one girl how to do a certain equation and she was just flabbergasted and proclaimed to the room that I was a genius and she wished she had my brain. This amused me highly. ( And when I read this to Brad, it amused him highly as well. In fact, he positively cackled with glee.) I wish that this moment had been projected backwards in time to when I was in eighth grade and struggling with all things math. Algebra was my nemesis in those days. I never could have imagined then, in a bazillion years, that one day, I would be tutoring girls and thought to be a math whiz. In fact, I still don't imagine it...Things get to a certain difficulty and I'm like, " Sorry! Ask Linda!" ( She's the REAL Math Genius/Teacher.) So, yeah, it was a pretty good day at work! Nice to get one's ego stoked every once in a while...even if you know it's totally misguided and based on completely FALSE grounds!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Lurking Horror

Imagine my surprise when I read on Liane's blog about some hideous boots she saw listed on eBay. Just a few days earlier Derrick was wearing an identical pair when he came to visit. We were all horrified, but we didn't say anything for fear of offending him. (I learned long ago that it is important to stay on his good side.) I did manage to get a quick snapshot when he wasn't looking.
Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Too tired to think of a title

But at least I have some alliteration going...

Yes, I went back to work today. Thankfully it was Friday. If it had been a Tuesday, I don't know how I would have handled it. Yesterday made me seriously question how much longer I can do this...so you can all pray for me that I have wisdom in making some decisions...Today was a little better.

In the afternoon, I was helping one of the senior staff do an intake of a new resident. The poor sweetheart was being placed from a foster home; basically she hadn't done anything wrong but I guess the situation in the home was not the best and so she was sent to the Shelter until they can find something better for her. Argh. So now she's being thrown in with all these hellions. Cringe. She brought TONS of stuff and we don't know WHERE we are going to put it all as we are consolidating everything b/c of the move; space is at a premium in the house right now. In the midst of her picking out a few outfits to use while she's here, two strange men walked in. Huh...deja vu? Not the same two strange men as yesterday. THESE men were here to test the fire alarms and wanted us to call the fire alarm center to tell them that there might be false alarms going off...So I was expecting the alarms to go off any minute and I was walking around the house plugging my ears because I know from past experience that even when I know an alarm is going to go off, I jump about half a mile in the air when it does. They never went off while I was there...

I have started reading a book called "When God Interrupts" by M. Craig Barnes and I wanted to share a quote from it. And just to clarify, he is using the word "conversion" in a much broader sense than simply making the initial decision to accept Christ. I think he's sort of maybe referring to...the process of sanctification...maybe? It's kind of hard for me to define what he means by it but maybe you'll get an idea by reading this: " Conversion always begins as God's terrifying initiative in our lives. It scares us to think that God would actually intervene in our good lives and say, " I don't care how devoutly you believe, you don't know who I am." If that happened, life would be very different. The inverse of that is also true. No matter how desperately we may want to change, we never will unless we see God differently. God alone is the Converter. We cannot change ourselves, and we cannot help but be changed when He reveals more of Himself to us. To follow Jesus is to enter the lifelong process of discovering more about God than we know, discovering that "my ways are not your ways," discovering that we have been worshiping not God but an expectation of God. Nothing makes it harder to see God than our expectations of Him. They blind us to the new ways He is at work saving our lives. Conversion pulls us away from being religious, away from having all the answers. It turns us into pilgrims who journey through life with some hard questions. For God is always working just beyond our limits, inviting us to venture into the unknown where we are abandoned by everything - especially by our prior expectations of God."

It really made a weird kind of sense to me - the whole thing of worshiping an expectation of God and not really knowing who He is...and being pulled away from "being religious" and not "having all the answers." I mean, I think I DO know God at least a little bit...but maybe it's like reading a file of one of the girls coming in to the Shelter. You get some information, you find out where they're from, what kind of trouble they've been in...but you don't know everything that has made up their life in the past, what family influences are present, what their personality is, what their interests are, their fears, dislikes, loves...you don't KNOW THEM. I think he might well have said that following Jesus is a lifelong process of discovering more about God than we thought was necessary or comfortable, or that we initially wanted to!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Must...keep...going... Weekend...almost...here...

So today contained a boatload of drama at the Antrim Girls' Shelter. First of all, two girls left today which automatically equals MEGA-tears...One of them had her birthday today; she turned eighteen and therefore aged out of the system. It was really scary for a while because we didn't know where she was going to go after she left the Shelter. It seemed that no one wanted her. At times, we all wondered if it would come to dumping her and her belongings out on the sidewalk. We were looking into adult shelters for her...but it turns out that she will be going to stay with her stepmother for a while at least. It's really sad...I don't know what is going to become of that girl. She is not prepared to be out in the big bad world all alone. She has the emotional maturity of a six year old. Sad, sad, sad. She drove me up the wall...but it's still sad.

The other source of drama came from the girl who is currently the Evil Incarnate Resident. She is leaving next week and I am practically jumping for joy at the thought. Apparently, she has some sticky fingers and absconded with a nice water bottle that belonged to a staff member. She would not admit that she had done wrong and refused to accept the consequences of her actions...so she went "out of program" which means, you sit all by yourself in a room under staff supervision. It's kind of a complicated situation to describe because it has to do with knowing the layout of the building and the fact that things are in chaos b/c of the move...but she needed to leave the living room where she was ensconced...and it looked as though she was refusing to move. So, Matt, took me aside and told me that we might need to "escort" her into the old office. My heart was kind of like BABOOM because this is code for...We're going to do a SOLVE move on her. ( SOLVE= Strategies Of Limiting Violent Episodes). I had fifteen hours of training last fall in how to deal with situations like getting out of a hairpull, getting out of a choke-hold, how to deal with punches, kicks, bites, and...moving someone who doesn't want to move. I've never had to use any of these moves. And I didn't want today to be my first day. Frankly, I don't want to EVER have to use these things. It's just downright scary. I'm afraid that if I get into a situation that required using a certain move, all sense will flee my head and I will forget everything I learned. So, of course, I nodded placidly, as if I LOVED doing SOLVE moves EVERY DAY and proceeded to follow Matt into the living room. He calmly talked to her about the fact that she needed to come with us to the office. She sat there in stony silence, furiously crocheting on a humongous black and red afghan. When Matt told her that we would 'help' her to move if she didn't come of her own accord, she said, " If you touch me, I'll knock out both of you..." but she still didn't move. So we stepped towards her and were inches from going through with the escort move, and she realized we meant business and got up on her own. Wow. I was praying that she would just get up because I didn't know how we were going to safely do the maneuver as she was sitting on a couch, not a chair like I had practiced last fall. PHEW. So she walked into the office with us. Now this is the office that we have just moved everything out of. It was completely empty except for a chair for her to sit in. So Matt and I stood there, waiting for her to do her points ( accepting her 'negative' points for her earlier behavior) and she kept refusing to do them. So we continued to stand there and she did her little Madame DeFarge act with the scary looking afghan, which she had brought along with her from the living room. Suddenly, the door opened and two strange men walked in. Apparently, they were testing for asbestos and making notes, taking samples etc. I had to sort of stifle hysterical laughter because it must have looked so strange to them: two adults standing in an empty room, doing nothing, watching a tiny 100 pound girl in a chair, crocheting madly. So we stood and stood and stood and the men crawled around and murmured to each other. Matt and I began to make small talk...which progressed into telling stories...He talked about his stepfather-in-law, a hulking Lithuanian, and how this man illegally pumps his septic system out into the woods...and how the aforementioned stepfather-in-law and mother-in-law raise free range chickens and goats...( I don't even WANT to think about the repercussions of those last two facts) and how the sf-in-law kind of LOOKS like a goat...and suddenly, Madame DeFarge bursts out that she wanted to do her points. I wanted to laugh again. Bizarre storytellinged into submission.

It was a weird day. A lot of the girls went on a hike with some other staff members...and we were stuck with the baddies. One of my charges made cookies with green food coloring. Saint Patrick's Day has come and gone, my dear...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I think God and/or those few people in the Great Cloud of Witnesses who may have been watching me must have gotten a good little chortle at my expense this morning. I leave for work around 6:50 a.m. - when solar glare is at its worst when you turn right out of the driveway on our road. That, plus my windshield was somewhat frosty this morning and I didn't have much time to do more than scratch a few times to clear a space through which to view the road. ( Yes- still a bit frosty, in spite of it being the MONTH OF MAY!) So, I cranked the defrost and headed out of the driveway. As I reached the spot where the sun glare usually attacks, it was so bad I really couldn't see anything. I temporarily slowed so much that I was virtually stopped in the road. And I realized this was dumb because anyone coming along behind me wouldn't be able to see me either and I was putting myself in a dangerous spot. So I rolled down my window and stuck my head out and drove. I felt ridiculous...my wet hair streaming out behind me. I had a bizarre image in my minds' eye - me as a dog in a Norman Rockwell painting. All that was missing was my tongue hanging out and an eager look in my eye. I don't normally feel that way on my way to work, that early in the morning. And I guess the dog isn't usually driving the car in those kinds of paintings...

The latest from the Shelter: We've been working on getting the sewer hooked up so we can use the bathroom in the portable classroom. Well, when I say "WE" I mean men from the town using backhoes and policemen from the surrounding towns to direct traffic. ( Currently in Antrim we have one- count him: ONE- policeman. Don't tell our girls, please.) Well, they've dug up spots all over the lot, and all in vain. There was some munga misunderstanding ( munga is short for humongous) and it is questionable as to whether we will EVER be able to have a bathroom over there. Matt told me this morning that we MIGHT actually have to get a porta potty over there. OH my WORD. My jaw dropped and I just had to laugh. And I guess the town is getting a bit testy about everything that's going on over here for some reason...And the real construction hasn't even started yet! Oh boy... Small town politics are something else. This job just gets more and more interesting.

Monday, May 02, 2005

In which, we git a larptorp and I learn a cardgame, among other things

Newsflash from Brad and Claire's apartment: We are now the proud owners of a laptop! Hurray! After months ( years?on Brad's part probably) of indecision, research, saving/hoarding, and thinking we could get by without one ( that would be me, not Brad), we have succumbed to the inevitable march of technology. It's pretty nifty looking- in the layman's terms. Actually, in REAL and more specific layman's terms, it sort of resembles a cross between a squashed microwave oven and a black hole. It's a widescreen version and I've never seen anything like it. I have decided I like it and so I think we will be keeping it. ( Brad was worried I wouldn't cotton to its strange looks.)

In other news: I think I may be chewing on my tongue when I sleep. My tongue is inexplicably sore on one side. Aren't you glad you're reading this? TMI, perhaps. Okay...

Another headline: Brad is the best.

And yet another headline: The Youth Weekend came and went...and from my limited vantage point, it seemed to be a success. At least, the part I had in it was fun. I played a small role in the Great Amazing Video Scavenger Hunt-Race. My part consisted of sitting with Diane while she organized the whole thing and putting in my two cents' worth occasionally. And then Bethany and I packed the lunch and sat in the gazebo in Marlborough ( next to Jitterbeans) waiting for the seven teams to come by and eat lunch. As we waited, Bethany taught me how to play Rummy with Derrick's anime cards...and I was confused enough without all the pictures of bizarre, angular, mechanized creatures and odd, robotic looking people because I don't really know any card games...and I get easily confused between spades and clubs and all that...I forgot their names actually. I was like, " What is the clover thing and what is the heart thing that's not a heart?" Poor Bethany. I wonder if she would have tackled this endeavor if she had known what a dense game-learner I am...and just how drastically IGNORANT I am of all things card. She was extremely patient and kind to me ( chuckling benevolently at my feeble missteps) in spite of the fact that it took me about a gazillion times of making the same mistake to learn that I have to immediately use the last card that I pick up from the discard pile! I was glad for the shelter because it was drizzly ( we had initially planned to take the food to Ashuelot Park but changed plans when I heard of the impending precipitation)...and the chill finally got to us and we fled to the warmth of my internal combustion engine. It was really fun to watch everybody's videos when we got back to Fairwood. The teams had to go around Keene ( and the outlying provinces) and take video clips of their team - or other people- doing certain things on a list...a few of which included: a team member in a shopping cart, the team singing "Old MacDonald" to Sue Lyman, interviewing people at Fairwood, getting a picture of the team under an arch, a Chinese fire drill ( in a safe parking lot), someone in the group reading a book in a store to the rest of the group - all chose children's books, luckily. I can't imagine if someone had started reading "The Count of Monte Cristo"... they'd still be there, I suppose. Some of the funniest parts were when they had to ask a store clerk to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

And last but not least: Happy May-Day +1. We are officially out of the woods with the whole winter thing, I think. We are now entitled to nothing but brilliant, gorgeous weather for about one hundred twenty days before plunging headlong back into that slough of grossness known as winter. Soak it up!