Friday, October 28, 2011

We are family. . . I've got all my sisters and me!

This week has had a little unpleasantness, mostly due to the fact that I just want to be home.  A little homesickness crept in early in the week, and I needed to hug my family.  Most of my roommates have also had a bad week and a general yucky feeling settled on the house. One of my co-workers (Mark) noticed I was having a rough week.  He reminded me that I now have two families- the one I came from, and Friendship Park!  I'm not a touchy person, but I immediately hugged him!

Speaking of family, my roommates and I always joke about being sisterwives!  It's odd how true it is.  We hang out together all the time and share everything including money- that's what being in a community means! Depending on one another. 

To deal with my recent yuckiness, one of my roommates (Laura) and I went out on Wednesday to a fantastic Chicago style pizza restaurant, called "The Chicago Fire."  (Bad name, I know.)  We had a great time, just talking and eating stuffed pizza just like Nancy's.  On Thursday, I then went out thrift store shopping for Halloween costumes with roommate Krystal and found the most comfortable nightgown- a long sleeve, cotton, floor length night shirt.  It was only $2 and it makes me incredibly happy!  I've learned to appreciate the little things- and the great things like my roommates and family of co-workers!

I'm off to celebrate Friday with my new found family! (But I still miss my family back in Chicago!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

We're all in this together. . .

It's Friday here and this week has been pretty good!  The usual happened here: got cussed out and guests cheered me up, worked sugar almost every day, did random jobs like cleaned the dishes for 700 people in the dining room . . .

What I really want to talk about is my spirituality and community nights.  Theses two events happen weekly and really help to bond us.  We have a rotation for spirituality nights and do a random activity on community nights.

For spirituality nights we have talked about our concept of God, prayer, spirituality in general, prayed the rosary as a community, etc.  This week we watched a documentary titled "They Killed Sister Dorothy."  A nun in South America fought for environmentalism and integrated her spirituality in it.  We discussed what we thought about the movie, what we integrated our spirituality with, the political and spiritual ramifications of environmentalism, and so forth.

Our house is beyond awesome, but a little sterile compared to the other JV houses we have seen, so for community night we wrote down our favorite quotes and put them around the house.   It was a great de-stresser and I found out that my casa-mate Laura loves Elf just as much as I do!!  (We have quotes from political figures, popes, the Bible, movies, song lyrics, poems, and others.  On previous community nights we have talked about a typical day of work for us, played games, gone to events, and stuff like that.  We typically take the house's temperature and see what we need that week, be it a stress reliever or something a little more in depth.

If you have any suggestions for community or spirituality nights, let me know.  We have a resource booklet for both, but are always open to new ideas.  This coming week's community night is a Casa Iggy photo shoot for Christmas cards we are going to send out!!

(Last night [Friday] was a Loaves and Fishes Volunteer Appreciation Banquet where Friendship Park and Mustard Seed School put on a skit.  I played Lucy Ricardo after Vitameatavegimin and Donald Trump.  Looks like all those theatre hours payed off, huh Ma?  I was told it was good but video proof has yet to be seen.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We couldn't be happier. . . Thank Goodness!

Thanks for being patient faithful readers!  This week had some interesting moments at the park, but all of that was overshadowed by my parents visiting!

They came in on Wednesday and went to work with me on Thursday.  It was disheartening that most of my regulars that come hang out with me avoided me, but it was really good for my parents to see how work is, what Loaves & Fishes is really like, and how great the people I work with are!

On Friday I took off work and we visited San Fransisco for the day; we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, drove down Lombard Street (the crookedest street in America!), toured Fisherman's Wharf, took a bay cruise where we sailed under the Golden Gate and around Alcatraz, and went for sundaes at Ghiradelli Square!  The next day we drove south to San Jose (yes, my mother sang "Do you know the way to San Jose?" for almost the entire ride!) and toured Winchester mystery mansion.

Today (Sunday), we went to the Cathedral and out to brunch (with my roommates!).  They are off to Napa now. . .

It was beyond amazing to have them here!  I loved having them see where I work and live, and I REALLY appreciate them taking the time to come out to CALIFORNIA! 

It has really been a blessing having them here, but now I'm back in the really busy life that is JVC!!

(By the way- I really want to explain our community and spirituality nights we have weekly in JVC, but always forget.  Being with normal people from the outside world really puts the unique experience that is JVC into perspective!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keep your thoughts nice and lush. . . Wait. . .

Hey everybody!   I've had so many comments this week that people read my blog, but can't/don't post, so I'll just assume you are reading this! 

My parents came in this week!!  They came in on Wednesday (thanks to Aunt Mary and Uncle Caz) and and will be with me until Sunday.  Then they are off to Napa 'til Tuesday and then home.  (Thanks to Beth for making all the reservations!) 

I'll post a real post when my parents are gone, but until then, I just want to soak up some family time.  I'm sure you understand!

Check back on Monday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Working hard or hardly working?

The park was closed this week for maintenance and winterization.  Some of the green hats and extra workers cleaned the service center, food service center, power washed the deck, hung up plastic sheeting along the huts, hung heaters, and did other general fix-it jobs, but I was fortunate enough not to do any of that.  We put up a table on the street and passed out lunch tickets.  That's all I did the majority of the week. I was bored out of my gourd. 

A few out of the ordinary events happened:
1. The park had shorten hours (8 am-1:30 pm) so I got to sleep in an extra hour and leave once we cleared the street.
2. I got Tuesday off!  I just lounged around for the day and it was glorious!
3. We had a staff retreat on Wednesday.  The full time staff at all L&F's programs (about 70) met at a retreat center, discussed a typical day at L&F, and shared the miracles that happened in our life so far.  It was lead by a cool nun (Sister Clare) and everyone had a great time!

But the story on my mind is Keith's.  He was released from jail shortly after I began here.  He is a mean-looking dude (covered in tattoos) but Donna (one of the nicest guests at the park) introduced me to him because he just had on jail shoes.  I exchanged his shoes and got to talking with him.  He was the kindest guy and I judged his appearance- something you just can't do at the park.  Yesterday, Keith gave me a silver chain anklet.  I put it on and his face lit up.  He then disappeared and three squad cars came to arrest him.  I don't know what he did or if I'll see him again.  It astounds me that a guy that nice (and he is nice to all green hats and people- not just me) can be in that big of trouble.

Working at L&F- seeing the police targeting the homeless and ticketing them with jay walking, littering, loitering, camping, and public exposure because they lock up the public bathrooms at night- has made me re-evaluate my feelings on the police.  L&F doesn't take any government funds (it is all supported by private donors), and doesn't like the government much. . . It's odd to look at the Capitol building and see all the injustice happening. 

To leave this on a happy note: MY PARENTS ARE COMING NEXT WEEK!!