Monday, February 27, 2006

My First Attempt at Skiing

We spent the day in Paoli yesterday. We left early to make it to the 9:30 service at the Mennonite church. I really like going up there. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. As always, all six of us were invited over to someone's house for lunch. It was the best meal I have had for a long time! (no offense to the culinary talents of my housemates). After stuffing ourselves, we went skiing at Paoli Peaks at absolutey no cost to us, thanks to those who had us for lunch (the husband works there, or he used to, or something). Luckily I wasn't the only one who had never been skiing. It was Alisa and Katie's first time too. They hooked us up with a lesson. Thank God for that because I would have been completely lost without it. I was horrible enough with the lesson! The first time off the ski lift I ran into a wall, but then I got the hang of it. After I mastered the bunny hill and figured out how to stop, the three of us decided to go down the "Family Trail", the eaisest one. Well not too far down I lost control and was rushing toward a fence that was blocking a big drop, so I forced myself to fall. And then I couldn't get up without taking off my skis. My nice housemates waited for me in a flat area. A staff person saw me fall and decided to help me. Alisa and Katie kept going, and the nice staff man tried to give me some pointers. But I wasn't doing too well and he had to keep catching me. I had another nice fall where I knocked my jaw with one of my poles. I was doing so bad he suggested I take off my skis and walk down the hill to the lift (and I couldn't even do that without falling!). He rode with me on the lift, probably thinking I couldn't do that by myself either. Then he told me I should not try that trail again. So any confidence and dignity I had left was crushed. So while all my housemates were skiing on the real trails, I went down the beginner's hill with all the kids a few more times until I was very bored and done with skiing. However I knew it would still be at least two more hours before we were going to leave. Luckily Katie & Alisa came back and kept me company. Oh yeah - another great fall of mine. On the other bunny hill, they had a conveyer belt thing (like the moving sidewalks in airports) instead of a lift. Everyone got on one by one and you were supposed to just stand there until you reached the top. However, the little kid behind me decided he wanted to walk. Since his skis were on top of mine, I had no choice but to walk as well, and keeping my skis straight while walking were another thing I was having trouble with. So of course one of them gets caught in the conveyer belt and I wipe out while doing the splits. They had to stop the belt and help me up. Stupid kid. I was slightly less embarassed when I saw that Alisa did the same thing! So although I failed horribly at skiing, I still had a lot of fun. And I am very happy it was free. Since I now know how much I suck at skiing, I don't think I could justify paying a lot of money to try it again. Looks like someone will have to pay my way to get me back on the slopes. In my opinion, I think it is one of those things that is a lot harder to learn as an adult, like a foregin language. After we were done skiing, we were invited to stop over to someone else's house. It happened to be just at dinner time, so of course they fed us. The hospitality of these people amazes me! So all and all it was a great day. And boy am I sore today.

The rest of the weekend was good too. I worked with Cameron for the first time on Saturday. Well technically I observed another therapist for two hours so I could learn his programs. It is very similar to what I did with Will, so I don't think I will have trouble catching on. However, he uses sign language, which I don't know. But I think I can catch on fast. After a couple more times with someone I think I will be comfortable by myself. And this little boy is so cute! He already started giving me hugs and holding my hand. I will enjoy working with him. And he does have some behaviors, but they seem like nothing to what I have dealt with in the past. Saturday night we went to a free concert at the public library downtown (I really love free things). The performer was Dar Williams and she was amazing! I had never heard of her before, but was assured by everyone she was wonderful, and I was not let down. I would classify her as folk/rock. She had some great songs, and told great stories in between them.

Work has been pretty fun lately. Thankfully today was easy since I am so sore! This past Friday it was my turn to plan "Fun Friday." We had a dance party and it was very successful! It was your typical middle school dance mix, complete with the YMCA, electric slide, etc. and of course some current hip-hop music (that's actually clean, had trouble finding those!) I had so much fun dancing with the kids. Let me tell you, African kids can dance! They definitely showed me up. And it was a good workout. I danced for over an hour straight and was definitely breaking a sweat. If only I could do that every day as my workout! Speaking of exercising, I have decided I am going to work out every day for at least thirty minutes and do stretches to help my back. This is quite a decision since lately I have not been working out at all! So far I have made it four days in a row. (I am counting my dance party and skiing). Because of my schedule and the fact that work often drains me (physically and emotionally), I just stopped exercising for the most part. So let's see how this goes. I need to be healthier, and maybe I wouldn't be so tired after work if I am getting my exercise. At least I hope. Or something else might be wrong with me. I am just exhausted all the time. Anyways, I thought I would share this so you guys can hold me accountable. Isn't this around the time the Bluffton Health Challenge usually started? I could really use that right now! This whole exercising thing would be easier if I had access to exercise equipment or a gym, or had a bike or liked to play sports or was able to run (a couple things prevent me from that). But I need to stop making excuses. I just have to be creative! And lots of exercise videos. Hooray for cardio salsa and Pilates. And I did Yoga for the first time tonight! Not too sure how that helped with my soreness.

Ok this has gone on for too long. I hope you enjoyed reading it :)

P.S. Abby Mo and Reba - do you realize that last year at this time we were preparing for our departure for Europe this week! Crazy huh? How fast a year goes by. And I can't believe I am already half way done with my service. It is going too fast!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hooray for Figure Skating

I guess it is time for an update. I don't want to let you down as the most consistent blogger. I am currently watching the women's free skate, hence the title. I have enjoyed watching the Olympics the past two weeks. Thanksfully NBC is our most clear channel! I feel like I have been really busy lately, so what have I been up to? Hmmm...the blurry picture is of me doing the "Macarena" in the middle of a Starbucks. My housemate Andrea had a concert there this past Saturday (she is a very talented singer/songwriter/guitair player, in case you were wondering). One of her songs was a pop medley. She used the Macarena as the chorus, and I stood up and danced along with it, however no one else decided to join me. Some other fun events from the past weekend: We saw a very amusing play called "Bad Dates" which was a one woman show, and of course, free for us. I took my "little sister" to see the movie "Curious George" (very cute). And, I went to a "classy" party with Alisa which was a fun excuse to dress up and have a good time.

So, what else is new? Oh yeah, I have a job! One that will pay me money! (just a little extra on the side) One week ago from today I met with the mom of a 7 year old son with autism. I made this connection through a lady from church. His name is Cameron, but I did not get to meet him because he was at school. He is the exact same age as Will, and looked very cute from his picture. No one can replace Will, but I think I will enjoy this job. And the therapy I will do and a lot of his behaviors are almost eerily similar to Will! (from what the mom described at least, I still haven't met him). I was supposed to meet with another one of his therapists this past Saturday to get trained on his programs, but Cameron was sick so it did not happen. I am going to go this Saturday though. And after that, I will come for 2-3 hours every weekend. So it's the perfect job for me. Very flexible (I can come whenever I want) and not a lot of time committment. And good pay.

Well that's all for now. I am going to pay more attention to the Olympics now. Oh yeah, one more update. So Salim, one of the boys who I had suspended and then randomly moved to Texas, called the center yesterday to talk to me. At first he was very angry and told me I am the reason he moved! (which I find amusing). But then he ended up apologizing and said he misses us all and hopes to come back and visit. What an intersting kid that one is! But I have to admit, life is a little easier at work without the hassles of him and his friend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

Andrea said I should put this picture on my blog, so here you go. I had a fun Valentine's Day. I really think it is a stupid holiday, but I guess it can be fun. I wore red & pink, ate lots of chocolate, got some valentines, and went out to dinner with eight other single, beautiful ladies! (my housemates and some co-workers). We went to August Moon, a Chinese restaurant that was able to take a last minute reservation. It was very good, but nothing can compare to P.F. Chang's in my mind. And I got two unexpected roses today. One from August Moon (they gave every customer a rose) and one from Randy, the computer guy at work. He gave a red rose to all his female co-workers, which was sweet of him. Today we passed out the valentines the kids made on Friday. My favorite valentine was from Gesma. She made one for all the staff which said, "You are the nice staff I never seen." How cute.

Work will be a little extra stressful the next couple weeks which I am not particularly looking forward to. I unexpectedly found out today that it was one of the staff's last day (Keyonn for those who met him). So the after-school staff will be stretched even thinner for the next couple weeks until they hire someone to replace him. They are actually going to hire two part-time people instead of one full-time (which he was), so that should be good. I hope they can find good people. It takes a special type of person to do this job!! And if that wasn't enough, I found out Sarah is leaving us too! I will miss her. She is going to wait until they find a replacement. So three new people. They will just be thrown into the thick of things. Hope they can handle it!

This past weekend was good. We went to a church retreat, for Paoli Mennonite. Their congregation basically started this program here. It was nice to get to know some of them better. We have only been to church there a couple times since it is an hour away. The retreat was closer though, just over the river in Indiana at a Catholic retreat center. It was a nice place. Unfortunately I was still not feeling well, but luckily a few doctors go to this church and one of them took me to the pharmacy so I could get new antibiotics (the first ones did not do the job). So by Sunday I was feeling better. And I didn't have go to a doctor's office! I would say the highlight of the retreat was the hymn sing from the Mennonite hymnal, in a Catholic chapel with great acoustics. I miss those hymns! And before that, they had a talent show. Click on the following link to hear some of my oh so talented housemates performig a bluegrass medley!

Oh, and before we left for the retreat on Saturday, Andrea and I stopped by our "littles" house for cake and icecream because it was my little sister's birthday. She turned 8. I got her two presents from the dollar store and she absolutely adored them. I love easy to please kids! She is so cute. Although after every present she opened she kept saying "mine, mine, mine" and immediately hid them in her room. Her chanting reminded me of the pelicans from "Finding Nemo." We should take them out again soon. They come from an interesting family. That's all I will say about that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nice long weekend!

This past Friday we had a fashion show during the after-school program for "Fun Friday." On the left is Alex, who decided to join the girls and put on make up. Above you can see Amela modeling on our makeshift runway. It went well, and was extremely loud (which is to be expected). Lots of the girls spent time doing hair and make-up before they walked the runway, and some dressed up. I partcipated. I wore a skirt for the first time to work, along with Alisa's cowboy boots. A lot of the girls screamed when they saw me and gave me a hug and told me how pretty I looked. They were excited that I was dressed up, which was cute. Luckily I avoided most of the boys, but Muya Muya did try to look up my skirt. And I have not been at work for the after-school program since Friday. It's been a nice few days off, for the most part. Keep reading to learn more.

I went home this past weekend and went up to Bluffton Monday evening in order to help my director Susan recruit for the urban corps program on Tuesday. As always, it was great to see my family and friends at home. I really do miss them and they always slide in comments about how I should move back to Columbus after this year is over, but I haven't made any decisions yet. (I have yet to hear back from grad schools, but I should soon, just waiting on Perry to send his letters of reccomendation!) On Saturday I spent the afternoon with Kim at a winterguard competition (colorguard without the marching band, and inside obviously). Our friend Jennilee is the colorguard instructor at one of the local high schools now, and she started her own winterguard. I was very impressed with Jenni's show! The music was from Phantom of the Opera, so of course I liked it! There were a lot of good guards there, so it was an entertaining afternoon. I can't believe I used to be in colorguard, it seems like so long ago! At the competition we ran into Erin S. who I hadn't seen for six months or so. And I also saw my old colorguard instructor (the nice one, not the psycho one) and one of my eighth grade teachers, who happened to be sitting next to us. How random. It was a little blast from the past. The rest of the weekend was good, hanging out with my family and friends. And I must say I had my fill of Italian food for awhile. Spageddies on Saturday, Macaroni Grill on Sunday, and Olive Garden on Monday.

My dad decided to come to Bluffton with me and we arrived at my grandma's house for dinner on Monday. Monday evening I got to hang out with Chad and Joel, and I figured out that Amanda had made the trip from NYC to Bluffton to recruit. So I tracked her down around midnight and got to see her for a little bit before she left the next morning. As Amanda and I were walking down the path by Ramseyer I felt like I had never left. It was weird to be back there and it made me realize I do miss my college days. Good times. I went to bed Monday night thinking what a great extended weekend I was having, but unfortunately I awoke at 3 a.m. with a slight problem. I won't go into details on my blog, but this happened to me about a year and a half ago, right after my grandpa passed away, and it was the same thing this time. No symptoms and then all the sudden I wake up in extreme discomfort and pain, and my dad ended up taking me to the Bluffton hospital at 4 a.m. There was no way I could wait for medicine. It finally kicked in around 7 and I was able to go to sleep for one hour before I had to get up. (Ok, I'll just say it, I have a urninary tract infection, which are common among women, yet the two times I have gotten them it has been absolutely horrible!! I should probably talk to a doctor or something). Somehow I made it through the day. Susan and I talked in Sue's classical theories of rhetoric class about the program and my experience. Then I sat in Marbeck for a couple hours during lunch at a booth and talked to people. It was rather surreal to be there. My dad and I left later that afternoon after visiting with my grandma more. I slept the whole car ride home. Then I relaxed a little bit at home, ate dinner with my family, and for some reason decided to make the drive back to Louisville like I had orginially planned. Let's just say it was not my brightest idea, but I made it! I had only slept two hours the night before and still wasn't feeling well, so it was a rough three and a half hours. I went to work this morning, but by 2:30 I realized there was no way I could make it through the after-school program with my fever and such. The doctor said to get plenty of rest, which I hadn't left myself do yet. So I slept all afternoon and it was wonderful. I still don't feel that great though.

Update: On Friday I was told by a few kids that Salim (one of the boys who was suspended) is going to beat me up. I was also told to "be ready." He was supposed to be back today, but I learned that he moved to Texas yesterday!! How random and out of the blue. So I guess he is not a problem anymore. But on a sadder note, his brother Juma also moved with him, and I am going to miss that kid! He was great, one of my favorites. And since Salim will no longer be at the program, Raymond said he will not come back either (the other boy who caused me problems). So I guess I don't have to worry about them anymore!

Okay, time for Lost!! I have to admit, I am addicted to Lost (anyone else see the commercial during the super bowl? it was great!)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I hate making up titles!

Well to go along with my last entry, today was a great day at work. Things were so calm! It was amazing. And I got to spend some quality time with a few of the kids. Completely opposite of last Wednesday, which I think was the most insane day ever so far (which is saying a lot). But I don't need to go into that story. But just to make my point again, my job has its good days and its bad days, but I still really enjoy it. The first two days of this week were pretty stressful (combined with my most emotional days of the month), and I ended up staying late both days to talk about it with other staff. I found this really helps. After a crazy day at work I need to talk to someone about it, and then I feel better. It's bad to keep things inside. Update: So I brought in the picture of Adam and I last Tuesday and said he was my boyfriend. It turned into we are getting married, so I went along with it. It worked wonders the first couple days. The boys really were leaving me alone. But after this weekend they seemed to forget about it. And now the two main boys who give me trouble are suspended. Last night I went out to the parking lot to encourage the crowds of kids to go home. Raymond was fighting with some kid on a bike, and the bike was about to run into a car. As I'm trying to get them to stop Raymond keeps kising my hand as I'm yelling at him. Then Salim corners me and starts telling me how he is in love with me. Ok, so these boys are 15 & 16 and both taller than me. They never listen to me and are always harassing me. I went upstairs after these incidents and talked to my supervisor about them and burst into tears ('s that time of the month). She decided it is finally time to suspend them for a week. They have had several warnings. I realized last night that their behavior really does upset me. I try to act like it isn't a big deal and sometimes I think I shouldn't be bothered by it and maybe I'm too nice to them and that's why they take advantage of me. And then I realized, hey, just because they are high schoolers doesn't mean what they are doing to me isn't sexual harassment. And I don't have to take it! ha ha So yeah it was nice not to have them around today.

This past weekend was nice. As you can see from the picture, Andrea and I hung out with our "little sisters" again on Saturday. What a beautiful day it was! I definitely think it is the only time I have worn a short sleeve shirt outside in January! We let them see our apartment and then took them to Iroquois Park down the street and hiked up to the top where there is a nice view of the city. They loved it. They are so cute and I think it is definitely a good thing that we are getting them out of their house once and awhile. They need it. When I was taking them home Krissy asked if we could hang out again tomorrow. How cute.

I can now say that I have seen every episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." All seven seasons. Don't know if that is a thing to be proud of or not! But I have to admit that I love that show. I finished it Sunday night. So I finally know how the series ended. It's kind of sad that I don't have anymore to watch! I watched the first season for my television criticism paper back in April, and then just kept going. Thanks to everyone who let me borrow their DVDs (Gill, Vicki, & Alisa's brother). I am also all caught up with "Lost". I need another television show to get into!

Oh, I finally saw the movie "Rent" the other night. And I loved it!! I had never seen it on stage, so I didn't know much about the story. It made me cry. And I want the soundtrack!! I can add Rent to my list of musical movies I am obsessed with. What great music.

Finally, I just have to say something about Bush's State of the Union address. Now, I didn't waste my time watching it. I decided watching "Moulin Rouge" was more important. All I did was glance at a headline on and see a quote about the defining moral standards of our country. Can someone please tell me what they are? I didn't realize America was "moral."

Ok I'm done!