Week 5 and Neighbor Stuff

Ha-HA! I’m on time this week ๐Ÿ™‚

Monday – Short day, just a snack to tide me over ๐Ÿ™‚

Tuesday – “oh look at me, I can totally make bread in the morning and still have time to get everything done. I wait. I can’t. Damn.”

Wednesday – (blegh, blurry) French bread pizza, chocolate muffin.

Thursday – Ramen, bread, last of garlic bread used for pizza.

I think starting next week I’ll do this lunch recap nonsense in list form rather than pictures – not only is the quality definitively not awesome, but when I’m trying to catch the bus spending two minutes just trying to get my camera to actually take the picture is fairly annoying.

Today’s been good – I’d say “productive” but I haven’t actually crossed much off my to-do list. Did my usual rounds helping out at Fridays for Lunch and the library (also learned how to make neat-o tissue paper flowers), and tried out our new palm wax for candle making with a new friend I’ve been kind of sort of fishing for, since she’d be an awesome attribute to Jason’s community in Chico. The candles didn’t turn out nearly as cool as I hoped, but that was more operator error rather than the wax being a problem.

I had some nice lofty ideals of getting dinner done and doing a massive cleaning of the kitchen and my room, both of which are in dire need of such treatment, but low and behold we had some neighbors show up. I didn’t blog about last week’s neighbor fiasco since most of you read Joshua’s stuff and it didn’t seem to make much sense to reiterate the whole thing, but we’d all kind of forgotten about the fact that there was another date listed for the meeting; tonight.

Joshua and family are down in Chico, so a younger couple came wandering over at about 7:30 asking where Joshua and this “abbey” was. We talked for an hour and a half, and I have to say that I quite like them. I wish they’d been around last week, since they’re actually for improving the lot and brought word from another neighbor as being pro-aesthetic improvement as well.

Steve and I let them know that we’d be backing off the idea, not wanting to come off too strong, but if they happened to plant a bug in a few people’s ears, maybe talk about it a little with the neighbors and see if we could come to some sort of compromise, that would be great. The money’s still here, and we’d love to do stuff within the neighborhood, but there’s no point putting in work and money if half the neighborhood’s going to revolt and run us out of town (or shoot at us).

It only seems fitting, I guess, that as a group that talks about living like Jesus as a culturally subversive act that we act as a tiny, quiet little rebellion against the culture of Paradise. Maybe it’ll just be a gravel path this year. And some flowers next year. And I can see how someone might wonder what all the big fuss is about trying to make some vacant lot pretty – I mean really, who cares?

But I think for both sides it’s about much more than the neighborhood’s junky lot; for the “opposition” (which I mean loosely, as in just opposing the idea; I’m trying to not build them up in my mind as an enemy) they resist the improvements because it means losing the illusion of privacy and accepting some little spark of change.

For us, it means scoring a small little victory to give us hope in a stagnant, stubborn retirement community that can be split over the arrangement of the pews and altar in a church’s parish hall. And yes, that is a real example.

*Insert witty/philisophical title here*

Damn, you’ve caught me.

From perusing my archives, it’s been at least a month since I’ve posted something of real substance (and that’s being generous), and I finally got called out on having more blog space dedicated toward food than actual substantive thought.

Don’t get me wrong – I imagine this space more as an open journal than something I write for anyone else, but still…a month without at least writing down much beyond a laundry list of what I’ve done/what I want to do and food planning isn’t really a great sign.

I’ve been more reactive than proactive lately, putting out fires as they pop up in various areas of my life but never quite getting to the part where I install extinguishers or fire alarms.

But tonight, I have no fires to extinguish (apart from the one I just remembered and took care of with a squeal of panic and a flurry of typing), so here goes a “real” post.

I’ve had a heightened awareness lately that, true to form of my tech-savvy generational stereotype, I almost always defer to technology over real time, person-to-person communication. I’m also coming to realize that it puts me at a distinct disadvantage.

At least three or four times in the last several weeks when I’ve tried to only use more sterilized forms of information – a PDF I Googled, a website, or a brochure – I end up baffled and frustrated. Actually calling someone for information, or going in to see them has always yielded an easier time getting information. It may not always be good news (“I have to do what to graduate?”) but it’s ended up significantly easier than combing through websites and instructions that are near non-intelligible. My safety blanket of technology in some cases actually puts me at a disadvantage.

On another technology and human relationship related note, tonight the Abbey read and talked about a New York Times article discussing internet trolling, particularly the harshest segment of it that all of us pretty solidly agreed could be considered evil. It was a long, and interesting talk, but it reminded me once again of my conviction that relationship is one of the main tethering experiences that keep humans…humane. Empathetic. Compassionate.

And as a sorely narcissistic barely-adult, I started applying some of this to me personally. I’ve wrestled with how I deal with relationships for awhile. I tend toward a theory of having a core of close friends, with a moderate amount of acquaintances – if nothing else, networking is pretty necessary.

If I’m at all stressed or busy, or even just not paying attention, I usually end up narrowing most of my relationships down to close friends and letting most others fall by the wayside. Which probably isn’t good – I value having different opinions and outlooks, not only for a different viewpoint but just even to keep me mindful that, God forbid, there are people different from me out there.

Unfortunately, I definitely put all my relationships into little boxes, which probably inhibits much of the input I praised just last sentence. It’s just too easy! For all the essays where I’ve written about how human relationships are hard, messy, and unpredictable, I really don’t enjoy living that out. Stay in your box! I don’t like having to constantly reconfigure all those boundaries and assumptions.

But without them, I end up losing track of some of the boundaries that I really should be mindful of. It’s not necessarily that I usually say different things to different groups of people, but I certainly say them differently. When I do try to let go of my host of relational boxes, fairly quickly I find myself mid-sentence and realizing that whatever I’m saying should have been done much, much differently.

I guess I do okay juggling that, trying to not box people in while still maintaining some sense of organization. What’s really thrown me offย  is a specific relationship that I’ve been trying to work out for the last year or so and come to some sort of closure. I’ve tried snipping the whole relationship off, but that caused undue drama, and at least one other broken relationship, but just letting it sit also allowed more hurt and heartache to happen.

Since I put such a value on relationships, it feels like this one needs to be resolved before it sucks out more of my emotion, time, and trouble, but my neatly labeled relational boxes aren’t much help here.

So summing up that train of thought: dealing with people in relationship is valuable, can’t be replaced by solely technology (as much as I wish it could), and is a huge facet of being human. But sheesh it’s hard, and messy, and there isn’t always a clear answer even with all the analysis and pro-con lists in the world. I’m stealing this line from somewhere, but interacting and engaging with people is the worst way to live – except for every other option.

In true jumbled-up relationship fashion, I’ve just spent the last two hours trying to get this post into something at least vaguely coherent (another benefit of technology: you can’t edit the words you say out loud!), since it’s been a rather large part of my thoughts for some time now and I had several trains of thought that I tried to put into one.

So my apologies if my only significant post in weeks is largely disjointed, but I am tired and resorting to using a thesaurus about every three words because this is my third draft and I feel like I’ve said “interact”,”engage”, and “relationship” about a hundred times each. This may not have been an eight page treatise on a chapter from Ephesians but it’s what I have to offer, at least for tonight.

Week 4

These “Friday” lunch recaps are getting later and later. My favorite excuse lately has been that my week “just got away from me”, though I’m beginning to wonder if I ever really start off with it in my possession…

Monday – No school! I feel less and less inclined to complain about furloughs. Less education for my money, sure, but now I’m also paying that little bit extra for a few catch-up days.

Tuesday – camera being fussy. Brought french bread pizza to tide me over for the couple hours of class.

Wednesday – toughed it out with no lunch, didn’t even buy anything at school. And then forgot to eat until the middle of the afternoon. Apparently my stomach doesn’t work in shades of gray – eat NOW or don’t eat till dinner.

Thursday – French bread pizza, french bread, top ramen, and some pringles and deliciously addictive cookies donated by Summer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, I have an unexpected extra couple hours this afternoon. I used my one excused absence for my health class to take a census worker test, and got there only to find that the person that scheduled my appointment told me the wrong time. I was pretty irritated, but I’m working on setting up an interview for something else. Hey, the sooner I get an interview, the sooner I get a different job!

I’m feeling like this is the time to catch up on my week – it’s Monday afternoon and I already feel like I’m behind. Sunday lulls me into complacency; no work, hanging out with people I like, talking, no real rush, and then suddenly at about 8 or 9 pm I remember I have to actually go to school the next day, and go into a frenzy of homework.

As such, I should probably get off my computer. I swear, it steals my time away.

(P.S. Guess what the end of this week marks? 1/3 of the semester over! I’m not sure I can even convey how happy this makes me.)

whoops

So I may or may not have forgotten to post my week of lunch recaps. Whoops! I thought about it Friday morning before I went off to start spying on my mom’s first day of work my Friday morning volunteer circuit, but then it just completely slipped my mind.

Still no sign of Speak, granted I spent Friday cleaning the Abbey instead of my room. Which is good, it totally needed to be done and I royally suck at keeping up with housekeeping, but I really need to finish my room – I did a whirlwind cleaning this morning, mostly I just have papers to sort and whatnot now. I know the boom-bust cleaning cycle isn’t healthy, but if I’m feeling particularly like cleaning, why not use it?

I hate to admit it, but the room cleaning isn’t completely intrinsic, since Alex will be over for Valentine’s tonight. I’m cooking dinner for him and staggering it throughout the day (which also staggers the dishes so it’s not a huge intimidating mountain), making braided cheese bread (I will get the six-strand braid right this time!), roasted veggies, oven fries, chicken of some sort, and coconut rice. In other words, lots of stuff that looks really fancy and complicated but is actually supremely easy – this is helped by the fact that he’s still confounded by the process of making bread from scratch. Basic understanding of yeast and gluten FTW!

I’m feeling particularly artsy this weekend. I’m almost done with my current art project, the grid drawing of Taylor Lautner I mentioned a couple posts back. I worked really hard on his eyes, they were super hard to get right and I’m really happy with how they turned out, so I’m kinda phoning in the rest of it. But even so, it’s still not bad. Camera cut off the very bottom, but I couldn’t convince it to take another picture.

I think for art workshop this week we’ll be doing a newspaper and paint theme. The newspaper allows for decoupage, collage, or mask making (or other paper mache projects), and the painting adds some more interest. And I am totally not following the same sequence as my art class. Absolutely not. =)

My sewing machine’s been calling to me for the last couple of days. I’m thinking about trying some clothing re-crafting, since I have a big bag of clothes waiting to be given away anyway. If I was planning on giving it away anyway, I might as well try to get some practice out of it and maybe even regain a couple shirts or something.

Also, digging through my sewing box I had the sudden realization that the reason I haven’t come back to my quilt that I started ages ago is because the more it came together, the more I realized I didn’t like it. I hate to say that, because it feels like that makes all the time and money I’ve spent on it has become worthless, though I know it was good practice and helped a lot. But would it really be worth it to put in even more time on something I already know would just be folded up and go under my bed? I’m not sure what I’ll do with the remaining fabric and the rows of quilt blocks – the rows might get turned into some pillowcases, and at least one of the fabrics would make a cute skirt. The rest, I don’t know, but it’s nice to admit it and move on to something that I actually do like and will enjoy working on instead of feeling like I have to force myself into it. Like this:

Anyway, after all that, finally: lunch recap!

My camera is finally on its last legs, so the pictures are pretty iffy, but ah well.

Monday: garlic bread pizza

Tuesday: french bread, hot dogs and chili

Wednesday: last remains of garlic bread pizza, biscuits, and a cookie mess up.

Thursday: my camera had a temper tantrum and wouldn’t take a picture. I brought my last pre-made lunch, mac and cheese, chili, and chicken, with a leftover breakfast burrito that I was too full to eat in the morning.

Let the hunt begin!

I’m not much of a re-watcher or re-reader. Despite the fact that I realize that there are many cases where viewing something again helps me gain more insight, or catch other facets I hadn’t noticed, it’s just not particularly my thing. For the sake of being sociable, I’ll probably end up seeing Avatar at least three or four times, but I would have been perfectly content with just once. I don’t think I’ll ever understand my sisters’ obsessive re-watching of Dane Cook’s “Vicious Circle” and how they chant out the jokes word for word with him.

But all that to say, there is one book that I reread over and over again, Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. I first picked it up in junior high, then again in high school, and when I had it assigned for a class in college I finally bought it and have read it at least once every year since. It’s pretty safe to say that it’s had a large role in shaping my teenage and young adult years.

I’ve never been able to put my finger on why the book has resonated so strongly with me, and though I have a few psychological guesses, most of it boils down to my similarities with the main character. I’m debating going into more detail with that, but I don’t think it’s really necessary – just suffice it to say, it means a lot to me and I’m not completely sure why.

Reading Speak annually (and sometimes even semi-annually) isn’t something I have to remind myself of, but instead it just pops into my head one day and I go home and read it over the course of the next few days. This year, the day that it popped up was early this past week, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up. Finally, tonight I went over to my bookshelf to pick it out from amongst the jumble, so it would be right there and ready for me in the morning. Unfortunately…

It wasn’t there. I checked at least three times, making sure it wasn’t hiding between booklets or something. It wasn’t. Maybe it was just the long day, or the stress of this week finally getting to me, but I felt a rising panic welling up inside. I have never, ever had this kind of emotional attachment to a book, or even many objects in general, and I’m still actually a bit upset.

After giving up for the night, leaving my room in even worse condition than usual, I have decided that tomorrow will be Clean My Room/Find My Copy of Speak Day, because that is a valiant way to spend my sabbath.

Week 2

I think I mentioned last week that what I eat tends to be a really good indicator of how chaotic/stressful/unorganized my life is, and this week is a pretty solid example of that. No pictures this week, since Monday my camera battery pooped out and my newly cut fingernails couldn’t pry the battery out – foiled by good hygiene!

This week has been such a blur and my mind so scattered that I can honestly say I have no idea what I ate on Monday or Tuesday, though I have a feeling I may have picked up something to drink to help with my energy and cognitive levels – apparently to no affect. Wednesday I was in a hurry and brought nothing, hoping I could buck it up until I got home at 1:30. I trekked around campus and downtown for about half an hour before finding something both cheap and appetizing – Fritos and a soda, a similar duo from what I bought last week when I was hungry. Hm. No bueno. Gotta watch that.

Finally Wednesday night I got my act together and prepped the main portion of about 5 lunches ahead of time, so I can throw in a little of whatever else I have for a snack but the main work is done. It’s probably good that my camera isn’t working to show you Thursday’s meal, since I brought one of the pre-made lunches, and all of them have chili as at least one part of it. I’d just like to throw out there right now that chili, whether alone or mixed with something else, almost always looks like an unfortunate past meal that has come back to haunt you in the most unfriendly way possible.

You’re welcome for that mental image.

And, so I don’t end my blog on that sort of note, I would just like to inform you that I’ve chosen the picture to use for my next art class assignment, and while I had solid intentions of using a challenging, interesting piece to redraw, I got sucked into drawing him:

I have never liked Twilight, and never will, but I will always pay hard-earned money to see anything this man is in. That is all.

P.S. In a shameless plug, I recommend checking out The Real Story of Community. I think it’ll be interesting to get a less overly-optimistic fluff “this is absolutely the best way to live and it’s all easy!” viewpoint on intentional communities.

I Really Need to Clock Out

I’ve worked in food service for closing on four years. It is neither fulfilling nor my passion, but it pays the bills. For about two years, I’ve been talking about getting a job more related to my field of study, and while there have been a few close calls where I almost landed one, I’m still here, scooping ice cream, wearing a cheesy uniform, and being paid minimum wage to have people feel powerful by being cruel to me.

Okay, so it’s not always quite that bad, and maybe I’ve just had a really long day. No, not maybe – I have had a long day. I’ve been pretty out of it, feeling alternating senses of being overwhelmed by school and just not caring, and tonight, just as I was starting to relax into a good night, I got a call to let me know that I’d been written up at work and needed to come in to pick up the paperwork. Mind you, there are some shifts I come in to work to see criticism about myself or someone I work with, and I think “okay, yea, I can see that”, but this particular write up is for something that I distinctly remember doing, and doing at least fairly well.

Three write ups result in being fired, and the write ups given to people today seem to be more of a power play and a venting of frustration by my manager, including a write up for someone from a month ago, for something that was not their fault. There were a few months near the end of last year that I actually felt really content and confident at work, but now the whole thing is slipping back into petty manipulation, power struggles, rumors and gossip, and pretty much grovelling for approval from the bosses while at least four people come in everyday looking for our jobs.

Something about tonight just made snap, and I’m currently on craigslist, looking for jobs under education. I’m downloading forms to apply at C.A.R.D., and I am just really, truly done. I still need to pay the bills, but this is becoming one of the worst, most degrading and dysfunctional ways to do so.

So, while this is a horrible economic time to do so:

Anyone know of any teaching/youth/etc related jobs?