Monday, November 26, 2012

Instincts. Thiefs. and The Cops.

From all my research and experience, I've learned that instincts and gut things are a beautiful force to be reckoned with.

"Trust your instincts," we've been taught.

Note: There is a summery of this long post at the bottom if you just want a two sentence story.

The house above the Quik Shop is chokful of a vibrant array of characters. In fact, some rather quirky folks come through there, from time to time. And, you know what? I've never felt uncomfortable or unsafe there. Everyone feels solid. Golden. Trustworthy. Maybe no reliable (that takes a certain personality), but still trust-able.

And they are.

Yesterday, two new folks came in. I'd seen them around town a bunch of times.

We got talking -- and, well, I didn't feel like I could trust them.
They set off some alarms - especially the male (not man, boy).
They hadn't been there before, that I knew- but, then again, there's always someone new there. Later, though, when it was too late, I learned that they really weren't known, nor welcome, there.

I'm going to just flat out tell you that, for me, often I've considered my "creeper-dar" to be broken. You know those "shifty-shady" characters? When I meet them, I rarely feel any hesitation in connecting with them and giving them my trust. Why? I dunno, I just don't feel like I need to. My body feels like it's ok.

It is very rare that someone, or a situation, will get a gut reaction from me.

They did.

And they asked all the questions.
They asked and asked.

They were pretty quirky. Something was off. But, you know, I'm cool with that. I've been around all sorts of folks and am used to it. However, that wasn't what triggered it. It was something instinctual that said "beware."

At one point, I even asked Daniel, "Hey - are these people good."
"Oh yeah, I've known them since school."
"Ok."

Well, if Daniel said I could trust them...
Plus, I've met their mom and cousins...

They offered me a ride home. I was hesitant to ask for one, but I didn't want to have the Clarkes drive all the way over to get me (which they always graciously do). I should have called the Clarkes. I should have. They wouldn't have minded at all.

But I didn't call the Clarkes. I got in the car. And that's where things got a bit more peculiar. They carelessly drove around with no point. They just drove. And drove. And called someone (grandmother?) and hassled her on end as she tried to do a paper.

And they played JUSTIN BIEBER AND CARLY RAE JEPSEN!
It was just weird.
And you all know that I know weird. I'm used to quirks. I can do socially clueless. But I still felt odd.

Then, the male started asking the wrong questions."Are you alone in there? Are you house-sitting alone? Are you working tomorrow? What kind of dogs do they have?"

In case you were wondering, those are the questions you ask if you want to break into someone's house and steal from it. Those are not the questions a housesitter wants to answer. Normally, folks just drop me off.

No, I'm not one to be paranoid! I'm not.
But it felt wrong.

As they dropped me off, I rummaged in my bag, pretending to look for some keys since, really, no house in this town locks. [update: the family helped me find the keys - this house now locks]

Daniel had said they were good, though. They must be. "Are you sure these people are gold?" I texted him as a way to reconfirm his vouch for them

A few minutes later, as I was feeling shakey upstairs, I got a call from Dani.

"Are you ok?" she asked.
 "Ok? Why?"
"Those people were acting really mean to you."

Dani then proceeded to fill me in that these people were sketchy, shady, and not folks you trusted. I then asked to talk to Daniel to clarify if he really knew they were ok. He then told me he didn't really know them. He'd just seen them around town.

I asked for more details about what made them shady.

"Thieving."

Oh great.
Superb! Fantastic!

*cue panic*

That's exactly what my instincts had told me. And now, apparently, this is what the male was known for doing.

Both Daniel and Dani are wonderful folks and they are both sitting with those house for a full day today and Wednesday. Luckily, I have Tuesday off and can stay at home the entire time. This house will never, ever be empty until the owners are back there. Ever.

Currently, Daniel will be there for nine entire hours - just stuck in a house. I am so grateful to him. Dani will be there for four hours on Wednesday. Once again, I am extremely grateful to them both. I set him up with internet, Netflix, and some DVD's. All I had, in terms of food, to offer was rice and eggs.

Anyways, right after talking to Dani, I called the police and told them what was up. They're doing extra patrols today.

I then called the family that normally gives me a ride. The mom, there, sort of acts as a Momma Bear for me in Haines .When I was crying at church, yesterday, she held me and I was able to sob in the security of someone else's arms. Anyways, I told her what was up. At the end of the story, she knew exactly who I was talking about. Why? Because she had heard about them in a similar context - stealing.

And then, I called the two people up and told them, straight up, how I had felt, what others had said, and what I had done. Of course they were defensive. And, of course, I listened intently. Since one of the stories was that they had stolen from housesitters at their parent's home, I said I would call her mom immediately - just so I could clarify, since she told me she and her brother had done nothing of the sort.

I called her mom.
No answer.
30 minutes later, her mom called me after talking with her daughter.

Yeah, she was pissed. She tried to direct that anger onto me but I let it slide past.

"If you're going to spread rumours about.."
"I haven't spread anything. Your daughter was the first person I called. Then you. I haven't talked to anyone else"
"Well who told you?"
"I'm not comfortable telling you that."
"Well, shame on you."
"I'll take it."

The mom said nothing of the sort had happened.

A bit later, the daughter called again and we talked about how crazy it is that rumours spread in this small town.

And, she was right about that. In Haines, this town feeds off of rumours. It can be sick and nauseating what uninformed people spread about others. I've witnessed it multiple times. I've seen people be ostracized from them. I was specifically careful with my own situation, with Andrew, just in case (thanks to the warning of a wise friend).

But, still, I had my gut feelings to go off of - and they had exploded. At least now, though, I could sleep in peace. I told her that I would still have someone be at the house all the time and she understood.

In the morning, my friend called and reiterated that, yes, that male (not man) had stolen from people before.
In the car, another friend told me the same thing.

So, I don't know. I'm not taking chances as this is not my home to take chances with. I regret my mistake. I messed up big time. I screwed up and I won't let the people I am housesitting for suffer for it. And, I will be honest with them when they get home. And, hopefully, the worst that happens is that Daniel and Dani are bored as they chill there and I loose sleep and thoughts to this.

However, I will not perpetuate what might be a rumour. This story may, and will, be told again to someone - but when they ask, "Who were they?" which someone already has, I will not pass along their names.

I got the wrong people to drive me home and my instincts told me that but I ignored them and then I heard from a few people that one was known for stealing and I'm housesitting and then they knew where that was so now I always have to have someone at this home as I work.

Friday, November 23, 2012

iammägi


You know what? This photograph kind of creeps me out.

After I took it, I looked at it and the phrase that kept going through my head is, "That's me." Like a dumbstruck toddler who finally discovered that that face in the mirror, the one that keeps showing up at the back of the Pat the Bunny Book, is them.

When I interact with people. This is who they see.
When I'm looking at them, they're looking into those eyes.
And, somehow that all comes back and connects with my brain. It's all physical yet so psychological.

You get to wondering what emotions come to mind when they see your face. When I say "you get to wondering" that means that I'm referring myself and the thoughts that I process through on the occasion.

What I also find bizarre is when they see that face, these sounds come to mind:
[mɛgiː]
or some pronounce my name as:
[mɑgi] or even [magi]

Not sure where this whole, "Maggie," thing comes from. I've been Mägi since 2007.

Anyways...

People see that face and they think of those sounds. When they communicate with me, they make that sound to refer to me. And, other folks share the exact same sound. Name.

With most words come a definition.

Take, for example, tintinnabulation.
Ready for this?

tin·tin·nab·u·la·tion
noun \ˌtin-tə-ˌna-byə-ˈlā-shə

\Definition of TINTINNABULATION
1: the ringing or sounding of bells
2: a jingling or tinkling sound as if of bells

What about mägi?

mä·gi
noun\,mɛ-giː

\Definition of MÄGI
1. ________________

See, this is where I come blank. Am blank. Will be blank.

One of my greatest frustrations is how frequently I define myself by what I've done, accomplished, experienced, or been through.

Zum Beispiel (for example), ever since 2007, much of my identity has (perhaps mistakenly?) been rooted in the year I spent in Switzerland. Now, if I haven't lost you yet and you're still reading (miracle?), this is probably where you'll drop off. But I'm going to keep articulating what's in my mind.

Me. Me just going to this other country. How is that a part of me? Is that wrong to hold on to the past so much?

I think, to start, I held onto Switzerland so tightly and let it become a part of my identity was, oh goodness... you know why. I have yet to get a negative reaction when folks heard I used to live in Switzerland in 2007-2008 and back in 2009. There was some [stupid] surefire thing that people, well, that they liked about me.

But it's been over five years, now, since I first stepped foot in Switzerland and almost six since I first even had the idea put into my head that I would be going there.

And now, my thoughts have changed and I'm on a different page.

Folks still pick up on what 17 year-old Mägi was into. I'm not proud of that.

They call on that event when they articulate that I'm, er, "adventurous" or whatever that word is. I'm not sure. I don't think I really earn it. In my mind, I haven't done that much.

Now, though, when I consider Switzerland to be a part of my identity, it has less to do with Switzerland and more to do with what happened to me in Switzerland.

In Switzerland, I learned that could be me, truly me, 100% me, unapologetically me, and, low and behold, people could like that person. As in, people didn't mind being around me when I was me.

Before Switzerland, I wasn't sure how to figure out how to be me with the masses.
I faced the world with façades and half-baked personas. Not in totality It's not as if I was never-me ever. But, that was not the norm. It was an exception. I'd find fleeting moments of me-ness in the classroom, but I didn't feel accepted for being me. Awkward girl. Awkward insecure child.

I felt as if, in Switzerland, I learned to be whoever the person named "Mägi" was perhaps supposed to be. Or at least I got a taste of who I was becoming. I know I am who I am all the time.

But, I just got this idea and I know it isn't right - but it's still a thought that came to mind and I want to write it out, regardless. My name is who I'm going to be. Who I'm meant to be. The tip-top form of Mägi. And, I'm going to spend all of this life becoming her.

It's like in Pokémon.
You know.
Just like a Pichu is on his way to become a Pikachu and then to a Raichu

Well, I'm becoming.... Mägi.

No. I am Mägi and she's being defined now.
Crap! I can't talk in third person.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Wait? Together with... you are he is as you are?
No. Not going there at all.

Ah! Where did these ideas come from? It actually all came from the toilet paper game.

Ever done that ice-breaking-get-to-know-you-game?
You know. The one where they tell you to tear off as many pieces of toilet paper from a roll as you wish before telling you what for. Then, after you have a bajillion of them and they go, "Hey! Yo folks! Tell everyone something about yourself for each of them."

What is there to tell about me? What have I done that will reveal to an audience who I am?

That's where I throw out, gah, what is it I show. I am given the chance to tell folks the right things so that they can create a biased judgement on my character and who I am.

It's just weird.

"Hi. I am Margaret and I've studied six languages and am currently attempting to learn two more."
"I play the cello."
"I'm happiest when I can dance at least 15 hours a week."

Voila.
Yo. I got culture.
So there.

Once again.

Weird.
And totally lame lame lame.

And, hence, we have this completely illegible post from me. One of hundreds. Sometimes I make a point and other times, like tonight, I just warble-wander-gander my way through words and stumble over undeveloped concepts trying to figure things out and accepting that I might not be able to get the pieces to fit before bed. It's as if a couple dozen puzzles got dumped out in a field and I get to spend my life putting them together because I know that the end result will be an image beyond what, in this premature moment, I can conceive.

This is what goes on in that head of mine.
Be glad you don't have to live with it.
Although, I'd rather be trying to figure things out than...

Stop it Margaret.
Just stop.

Wait... I thought I was Mägi.

I'm just going to go ahead and press, "Publish."

Right.
Now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012's "Gratefulest" Moments

Grateful on December 9, 2011
I did a search in my blog for "grateful" and got 60 post results. 60+ times in my blog, I've written something on being grateful.

Here are a few excerpts of things I said I was grateful for this year:

September 3

 Lucy left in July and Hannah just left this Sunday. I definitely miss both of them. They both brought out the best in me - they brought out the "Mägi" in me when I was fading and I am so grateful.

July 2

As I was fetching the letter, the post office janitor man walked out and made a comment on the weather. In reply, I said something about being grateful. We talked about how it was a good mindset to have a good way to think.

"What are you grateful for?" he asked.

I told him how grateful I was for the family I'm currently living with. I am grateful for every one of the nine children and the two parents. I am grateful that they already are starting to feel like family. It feels like home with them. It feels like love

"And what are you grateful for, today?" I asked in return.

The sun and the weather.
The love of his girlfriend.
And good health.


November 17

You know what I'm grateful for? Those random men I meet who take care of me. 

This day was wonderful and I was grateful for it.

August 29

A wonderful woman in the community, Stacey, helped me get prepared for my sudden departure from Haines. She picked up me and helped me get to where I needed to be in time. I was really, really grateful. I was also grateful to Victoria and Julia who also offered assistance, if I needed any.

Seattle isn't quite the same now, now that she's gone. I'm glad I got to know her these past twenty-one years. I'm grateful for that time we had together.

September 26

She shares her wisdom and experiences with me --- and, goodness, I'm just grateful for her.

This family has been so encourageing and amazingly good to me. I'm grateful for them -- they always put me in good spirits and bless me abundantly.

August 31

My brain dissolved and my body took over and I was so grateful. These dances were such a different flavour than anything I had had in the past five months.

Grateful to be back for three days.

December 9

I am ever so grateful that the family I am house sitting for has a juicer and stocked the refrigerator with veggies for juicing. I've been grateful for my daily cup. It works to wake me up or as a dinner.

October 12

There, dinner was made... by Patrick. And I'm grateful to him because it was a lovely, lovely delicious meal.

Looking at my foot. Yeah, I like this. A lot. I was really grateful to Garrett and reciprocated the appreciation - I was the first person, besides himself, he'd ever given a tattoo to. I was pleased as punch with his work.

July 24

I’m grateful for friends who are willing to say things out loud for me. It is like a sigh of relief when someone says they want me around or even if they say they need space. I am grateful they say that out loud because I then know that they’re genuine - especially when it’s something regarding space.

November 6

He stopped the meter and then drove me to where I needed to go. I was grateful. People are pretty understanding when Grandma dies.

One client is helping me develop my own Pirate persona. I chose the name Linus the Peacemaker because I didn't want to fight. They also gave me some freshly made muffins. I was grateful.

October 31

In the past couple months, I've encountered two circles of friends that have been incredible to me. I'm really grateful for them. 

October 30

One of my favourite people to connect with in Haines in Lori. She had me and some other folks over, the other evening. I talked about it already so this is about all I'll say. I'm grateful for her presence in my life, though. She's a good influence on me and a wise woman to process through things with.

October 17

I'm grateful I had [name] to show me how a loving, wise male handles the same situation. 

We've been trying to get on the same page, lately.  I love them so much and am grateful for everything they have done and are doing for me.

August 29

And now, here I am in a nice, super-cozy, wonderful bed in a beautiful home. This is better than the airport. I’m grateful things worked out.

August 28

 I made my way over to my work to talk to my boss. I'm so grateful for him. When I asked if I could go, he immediately said, "Yes."

August 22

He dropped me off at the Parade Grounds where there were a few musicians who looked like they were packing up. I was grateful, though, that they got the instruments back out when I showed up. 

August 21

I was grateful to have one of my favourite chocolate-y tastes in my mouth again. Memories of Switzerland are always welcome - especially in Haines, Alaska.

August 15

I’m grateful I spent all those hours of elementary school, junior high, and high school learning the cello. They’re paying off in multiple ways - literally and metaphorically.

August 14

I was grateful that the fair provided the perfect venue to get in a few more hours of dancing. I finally got my dance high in Haines. I finally got back to the point where my face was blissed-out in this grin that I couldn’t wipe off without my jaw trembling.

August 11

I had a dog named Trudy, a buoy swing to swing on, kale to munch, and a view to appreciate. I am grateful.

August 7

 It was Tom that picked us up. He and his wife Jan would be hosting us for the night before and after camp.

They were fantastic hosts and I'm grateful we got to stay with them. So welcoming and open. They fed us well, gave us the perfect space to sleep in, and they lived downtown, making it easy for us to wander around the city.

August 6

What to do with a house to myself?
The family is gone until September -- 5 weeks of solitude. I'm grateful that another family comes here during the day to chill - they make for superb company.

July 31

I didn’t want one-on-one time with this person. Then, Rosemary and Alan were leaving and I was excited to get to know them. Oh! What fine biking company I was in! I enjoyed their company extensively and was grateful to be able to bike the miles Home with them. 

July 25

Even if I don’t hear what I want to hear, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to at least hear what's been on their mind.

June 14

I think it looks like they are learning to be sumo wrestlers. 

One of the things I’m grateful is that I can still “go out and play.”

May 19

Yesterday I wandered home to find Tyler, Andrew, and Ashley.
They made music.
I made whole wheat pumpkin cinnamon waffles.

I was grateful that they were willing to eat so many of them.

May 8

Sure enough, Tyler was there. We hopped into the car so I could borrow a mate’s cello for the weekend (so grateful) and by the time we were back, Andrew was there.

May 6

It's a fantastic opportunity that I'm grateful to have. It feels like a good fit and is a major, major reason why I chose to stay in Haines beyond a month. This is a sustainable, flexible job that matches what I like to do.

April 21

He is so good to me. Consistently, I don’t even think I deserve it, Lord knows I don’t deserve anything good that happens to me. And that makes me all the more grateful.

February 17

Whereas, in the traditional college bubble I might be living life among the same-aged, I am grateful to always be with folks who are various stages of life.

December 13

Yes, "Min" is what Samuel and I do indeed do together. We love to spin.The remaining "big people" prayed together and took communion - how grateful I am to my Father for so much!

December 9

But I'm really grateful for this opportunity to hang out with Charlie and Jake. It's helping me grow and learn to live with dogs, and I do like spending time with them (except for when they bark - can't say I have the same love for them like a momma to the baby, unconditional - this love has conditions).

November 29

And I was grateful I wasn't being charged for this one on one time. It was really kind of him to make the offer and follow through. He gave up an hour of his time to share his knowledge with me.

November 28

Oh, how grateful I am for Winter squash.

November 26

I am grateful to have such a creative Dad.

November 27

Life is already going going going. I love my city. I am grateful to call Seattle home.

Melanie and the pumpkin harvest at L'Abri - Fall 2011.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Switch Is On the Ceiling

Today feels like a Friday evening, despite the fact that it's an early Wednesday afternoon.

This is an update on that living thing I've been doing lately.

Currently I'm housesitting for a home of tall people.
Very tall people.
Tall Australians, in fact.

So tall that they put a bunch of their light switches on the ceiling where I can reach them only if I leap, climb a ladder, or use my crutches.


So tall that the bowls are kept so high that I can't reach them without grabbing a chair.


One of the swell things about housesitting in Alaska is that, sometimes, the families give you wild Alaskan salmon. That's delicious.



This is my food stash for the next couple days. Spaghetti squash, lil' orange things, a couple sacks of brown rice, beans, lentils, carrots, chia seeds, spelt spaghetti, and twig tea. Thank you Rainbow Foods of Juneau. Lelise gave me canned beets!

It's a bit funky being in this house by myself. When I house sat in Haines, before, I had Andrew with me the entire time and sometimes even an added Tyler or Ashley. But, I think we all know that was a bad idea. At least he frequently read to me from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle doing all the voices.

"Hi. I'm Andrew. I read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and make her sound like Darth Vader."

But now it's just me in this house.
I can yodel all I like and play music louder than what is considered to be civilly acceptable.

Awwe, but, do I live alone?
No.
No.
No way.

See? I took a picture with my bird friends!

I am currently living with.... 6 birds, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 giant fish tanks, and 1 tank.

Ok. But I still felt funky-lone. See, I've got this thing called a stupid-ankle and these things called crutches and am surrounded by stuff called ice and my boss did something called telling me not to work for a few days to rest it.

A.K.A.

I was to chill in that house by myself all day -- I couldn't really get out.
And it's great being at home when you get to, but when you have to, then you start to get that whole grass-is-greener-outside-of-the-house-you're-stuck-in mode.

Luckily, I have beautiful, loving folks in my life who take care of me. The Clarks, Lori, and Luke have all been wonderful in picking me up and getting me places. The Clarks get me to the library for five hours. Lori got me to work today. And Luke picked me up for social purposes above the Quik Shop. And then... we got water with Dani.


Why get water out at the creek-thing? Because Haines-city water is super gross, yo! Don't drink it! You'll DIE! No, seriously. Word is, on the street, that the city water is cancer-causing and sludgy if you leave it out over night. I know it comes out brown when I first turn on a faucet. I prefer packing in creek water from home.

Felicia came over and visited the other day and then took me out to another family's house with the rest of the eight young folks I normally live with. I was beyond content squished on a couch with the nine of them. Ten on a couch? It works. Especially when you're watching Tin Tin! Goodness, I just wanted to stroke that guy's hair the entire time. The added, beautiful laughter of the children that I was surrounded by was contagious and certainly gleeful.

Dani and Luke also came over to watch a documentary on North Korea.
Friends are swell.
and
Dogs are loud.

And you know what's crazy? Google's dictionary knows "Vader," as in, "Darth Vader" (it doesn't know lowercase "vader"), but it doesn't know chia, as in, "chia seeds."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ka-Chunk :: Ka-Chunk


Ever got around with a pack on your back, pack on your front, and studded tires around your neck on crutches on ice?

Ah! Life is beautiful, ain't it? Sweet?

Yeah. Remember that right foot of mine? The one that got a tattoo one day, a cut that got infected the next, and then blistered the day after when I was dancing on the ferry bearfoot during open sea crossings.

Well.
It has this tendency to do something called "doing the twist."

I think I started wreaking havoc on my foot back in 2007. That's when I can find my first records of the right one twisting.

"Many of you might know already, well, maybe not, but anyways, I have a weak ankle . my right one."

- Margaret Hubert on Ich Bin Zahnpaste on August 31, 2007.

Three weeks before August 31, 2007, I had twisted it but the major snap came on August 26, 2007.

That day I was introduced to the world of crutches.

I was walking around town and, for some reason, decided to carry Sergio on my back.

Here. Meet Sergio:

Sergio is a bit larger than me.

So, with him on my back, I stepped in a gutter and with the extra 150 pounds or so (no idea how much he weighs, actually), my ankle, which was already twisting, really twisted and snapped a bit (without breaking) and...

August 2007

Voila! I was on crutches for the first time.
Annnnd my crutches were signed by the Swiss national goalie.

Within the first month of living in Switzerland, crutches.

In time, it healed, and I was pretty much good to go. Good-bye crutches!

Awwwe, you liked them? Don't worry - I went back to Switzerland in 2009 and, within a month:

September 2009
SNAP!
Voila!
Crutches.

They look pretty good on me, don't they? Love the reflectors on the ends - they really bring out the blue in my eyes.

And over time, it's twisted time and time again but I never needed crutches.
Frustration and aches and braces, but never crutches.

Upon coming to Alaska, I've been trying to take good care of it. Ask the kids I live with! I avoid frolicking in fields and unsteady surfaces because I know that's a death sentence to that unreliable ol' ankle of mine, unworthy of even a name.

The snow fell and so did nearly I.

I was out with a client and the snow covered uneven icy ground. My Xtratufs are Xtralarge and, splat went the ankle.

Now, my ankle does twist frequently, but normally I can get sort of hobble to where I need to go after it twists or it heals within seven minutes.

This one didn't feel better.

The walk to the QuikShop was a pain I hadn't experienced in a while... hadn't felt since around 2009. Luckily, no crazy swelling occurred. But, simple moving of it hurt. That evening, still in pain.

But, the day after, felt like it was a bit better and was using it.
A day after I felt like it was almost tip-top. A wee bit sore, but it worked.

Oh. Peculiar.
It didn't actually heal.

It kept tweaking out. Tightening and getting so sore it would barely take weight.

Four days later, I was just standing and all of a sudden it gave out from underneath me.

I felt awful because, for my job, I have to get my clients outside and walking. I felt useless when my boss had to shuttle us around or a client stayed inside too much.

Upon getting to Juneau, I realized I would be walking a lot and I knew what I had to do.

I've gone to the doctor a bounty of times for my ankle and they have all generally given me the same advice. If it's not healing, walking on it is not a good plan. Walking it off won't help. Resting it helps. Staying off it it (read: crutches) helps.

So, crutches it was.
It had been 1-2 weeks without really any improvements and I knew what I had to do.

$5 for crutches.
Time to stay off it.

And, I pretty much did my almost-best to stay off it for the week. Folks treat you differently when you're on crutches.

My ankle still seized up today about an hour ago so it's not quite healed, yet. Boss told me to take two days off to stay off of it.

And ka-chunk all around... with double back-backs, tires, and crutches to boot.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Strange[r] Men Care For Me


You know what I'm grateful for? Those random men I meet who take care of me. Now, there is a bounty of ladies who take care of me, but this post is on the men because there seems to be more of them.

Upon coming to Juneau, I wasn't quite sure what my plans were, but I figured life would unfold itself neatly out for me upon getting off the ferry. Not quite, I got off the ferry feeling ill. I was going to stay with dear Amy but with a stomach ache, I thought it would be better to leave her in peace and rock the Juneau International Youth Hostel at $12 a night - awkward tummy and all.

View from my window.
The great thing about hostels is, in staying at one, you're almost always guaranteed a swell travel mate by staying at one.

The next morning, as I was cooking my brown rice for the day, I met Eddie.

Eddie was going out for waffles at the Southeast Waffle Company. I joined him. And that's how our day began.

I'm not going to say too much about Eddie hear 'cept that he was wonderful, made for great company, and he had just gotten back from 6 months in Antarctica.

Oh man! Those waffles were legendary. I got a blueberry waffle and was thoroughly satisfied. Thanks, Eddie-lad!

Our day went from waffles to the Shrine of St. Therese. There was a beautiful chapel on an island built back in the 1930s. You could only get there by a small man-made causeway. I was careful not to slip in the slush on my crutches. Eddie, despite having been there many times, gave me time to appreciate the place and take it all in.


After that we traversed to town to Cycle Alaska to try and pick up some studded bicycle tires. They were closed.

Then, off to Nugget Mall to get ice cleats.

We stopped by his storage unit where he gave me a near-brand new dry-bag backpack! DUDE!!!! Those things are like, oi, $150. This dude gave it to me. I was really, really grateful and am already using it.



As Eddie told me, he didn't have anything to do that day. He said that, were I not there experiencing Juneau with him, he'd probably just be at the gun shop all day. That's where we went next, to the gun shop. He bought three pistols/guns on the spot and then we went to the range where I got to shoot 'em. Well, I shot the 45 only twice and the 22 a lot. One was a... Glock. He was really big on gun safety and I liked that.

He then took me out for Mexican food.

And dropped me off at my hotel.


This day was wonderful and I was grateful for it.
But this wasn't the first time that a random man had decided to take care of me for a day. It's happened in other towns before. Each time, we give each other fine company and part without any connection to keep. It's nice to have a companion for a day.

Today I was at Rainbow Foods and a [rather attractive] man [who had been cycling] came in.

I had my pockets and hands stuffed as I stood behind him, leaning on my crutches.

"You manage that well," said he. I like it when strangers initiate conversation when standing in line.

In the end, he gave me a pack of organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups! My favourite, yo! Gah, I was blissed out. I gave him my nearly-full punch card for lunch.

I love me some gals, I think they're great, but it frequently seems to be the stranger men that go out of their way to surprise me.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Time I Ran Away

 

One of my earliest memories in life was my first of many attempts to run away from home.

I remember frantically gathering my belongings in my bedroom. Slowly, the pile of luggage grew.

A paper party hat caught my eye and I nabbed it. "Just in case I end up at a birthday party and they don't have party hats," I thought.

I had decided to run away to my friend, Christina Hasting's house. She was my best friend and lived only seven miles away. My parents had been unusually cruel to me (eh, not really - they were always swell, I just had some serious issues) and I knew I needed to find a place where I would be loved.




My brother helped me carry my belongings.

And eventually, I think he had most of my crap.

It was this event that "inspired" the name for this blog. Running away is just something I do.

After that, I did a pretty good job at staying in Seattle until 2006 when I get the itch to get away.

During parts of these years, I either traveled (from super short-term to three weeks) or lived here:

2003 - Victoria, British Columbia
2004 - Dominican Republic
2005 - Dominican Republic
2006 - Mississippi, Louisiana
2007 - Switzerland
2008 - Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Austria
2009 - Switzerland, France, Wisconsin
2010 - Oregon, Idaho, Utah (the year of education acquisition via books)
2011 - Texas, Oregon, Bowen Island, British Columbia, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, California
2012 - Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon
2013 - Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Scotland, England, Netherlands, Hungary and everywhere between Washington and New York

Bold - indicates a stay of more than three months which is more than enough time to settle into a routine and become a part of a community.

Not too grand of a list. Nothing outrageous. But, I'm pleased. Although, I am 22 and time is ticking and I've gotta get running soon.
So, what happened in the end back in the early 90s? Well, my parents just stood there with a video camera and watched me struggle down the street. They new I'd come home. Sure enough, after a while, I started to get tired and fed up with the journey. My belongings were heavy.

Dad came to the rescue with a wheelbarrow and wheeled everything home.

Safe.
Sound.
Seattle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cry at Random [sort of]


I randomly cry about my grandmother and it tends to happen when I'm with client. Anything can be a trigger.

I was getting a client dressed, today, when I started to think about my upcoming trip to Juneau (this upcoming Sunday through the next Sunday) and about how I'd have to take a cab.

And, of course, cab is a trigger.
Of course?
Oi.

I was thinking about if I would pay with a card or cash.
That made me remember about the last time I took a cab from the ferry to the house I was staying at when Grandma had just died right as I had boarded the ferry. I remember feeling sort of numb and peculiar.

Anyways, I got in the cab and as the numbers climbed on the I asked him if he took debit cards. He said, "Only cash." Luckily I had some in my wallet but as we reached the neighbourhood, within a block or two, the amount it was going to cost was passing what I had.

I told him I had to get out there.

He stopped the meter and then drove me to where I needed to go. I was grateful. People are pretty understanding when Grandma dies.

This memory, though, reminded me of when Grandma (Dorothy) had just died and that made me cry.

I now realize that the title for this post is wrong. I don't cry at random. There's always a specific trigger that brings it on.


And They Pay Me to Do This

A favourite game with one client is to empty out my backpack and explore all of the contents...

This week at least one of my clients....

- Sang me a song about diarrhea.
- Started calling me Becky and calling me like a dog, “Becky, come!”
- Greeted a random man. “Good morning!” and then pointed at my knees saying, “Becky!”
- Laughed vibrantly when I sang Auld Lang Syne.
- Declared me their "Secret Sister."
- Thought "Car Talk" was hilarious .
- Ran with me in the slush.
- Spent 24 minutes singing, “Marzy Doats and Dozy Doats” in different voices.
- Beat me in a water drinking contest (mind you I was the announcer for the entire event).
- Watched the same 2.6 minute segment of Lion King II on repeat, and sometimes in slow motion, for 33 minutes.
- Got a car.

I love my job.

I currently work directly, one-on-one, with folks in the community of Haines living with developmental disabilities (this could mean anything from being deaf to Fragile X syndrome to blind to Cerebral Palsy to Williams’ to Downs’ to Rett Syndrome to Autism to paraplegic to...) . They range in age from children to the twenty-somethings.

I am not at liberty to tell anyone anything about my clients that is personal information about them, but I’ll tell you what I can to paint a picture of what I do for 40-60 hours each week.

None of my clients are capable of functioning on their own. One is ok at home, but the rest need pretty consistent company. To leave the house, they all need someone to make sure they stay safe. I have one client that likes to cross the highway like Moses crossed the red sea, sticking her arms out in attempt to stop the racing cars.

That’s where I come in. I help them get out into the community.

I take one client, a few times a week, to the bank, the library, a restaurant of their choice, and anywhere else that seems to fit the whims of the moment.

That’s what I do. And I love it.

This job feels fulfilling. I get to live for someone besides myself. I get paid to love others and serve them. How awesome is that? That’s the sort of job I always want to hold - I want to be somehow serving someone else, perhaps someone that could use an extra hand at times. That's where my heart is.

Some of my clients need help with the simplest of tasks in life - eating and such. My goal is to help them as much as they need, but empower them as much as possible to be independent (if that's a possibility, if not, we have other goals to work towards). 

Yes, my job can be draining - both emotionally and physically. Emotionally for a lot of reasons. I have to get to know each of these human beings to the best of my knowledge and make decisions, on the spot, that will be best for them. I have to be persuasive, in many situations, to help them stay safe (such as when they want to just cross the highway on a whim in front of cars and don’t take “no” for an answer). I have other clients who are sometimes in a lot of pain and, frequently, there’s nothing I can do. I have to find peace as I sit with them in their pain and comfort them. I do what I can, but there are a lot (a TON) of things I can’t fix.

One thing that could be exhausting, but isn’t, is that around half of my clients could care less if I existed or not. Well, guess that number is changing. It used to be half. Now there’s mainly one that hardly really knows I’m there. It’s an interesting dynamic spending sometimes up to four hours with a human being who doesn't acknowledge your existance. Another client used to not care, but now I think she does. Apparently, in the morning, she asks when “Becky” (her name for me) is coming and she says “later” when I leave. I don’t mind this, at all, though. They don’t have to want me to be around. I don’t need their affection to feel good and I’m not trying to earn it. This job is not about me feeling the warm fuzzies from clients, it’s about me caring for them. I certainly want them to feel well taken care of and loved, but I don’t require it in reciprocation. That is a high expectation for someone.

I find it rewarding to spend time with my clients and develop relationships with them.

There’s one client I have who, I think, I’m one of her only care providers (who's not in her family). She’s fantastic, but a lot of folks just don’t click with her - she isn’t too tolerable of others and she doesn’t need anyone else, in her mind. When I started working with her, she wasn’t accustomed to having other people in her home and preferred it that way. When I would try and enter her room, she would say, “Go away!” and push me out the door. It took time, but now she invites me into her room. “Becky, come!” or “Becky, come... please!” She’ll play on her iPad and I write letters and read books. Occasionally I comment on the film she’s watching and then give her her space. I totally understand wanting space and time without someone asking questions. Her mom just told me, the other day, that I was the first one she'd ever invited into her room. At a meeting, she said she didn't know what I did, but I was the first person she welcomed into her bedroom for extended periods at a time.

I have one client where, once a week, we spend 24 hours together. We dance. Listen to music. Watch movies. Roll on the ground. It's pretty blissful. I try and find as many ways to make them laugh as possible.

One client is helping me develop my own Pirate persona. I chose the name Linus the Peacemaker because I didn't want to fight. They also gave me some freshly made muffins. I was grateful.

My job is about seeing the best in someone and pulling that out of them. It's about helping them get the most out of their life on this earth. I like it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Going to Moscow

164 days from now, I will board an aeroplane for Moscow, Russia.
I will get off that aeroplane and then...

not sure yet.

I woke up the other morning with no intentions, at all, of even visiting Russia. For some reason, that massive country (largest in the WORLD!) just hadn't crossed my radar yet. One eight of the world's inhabited land is Russian. And, holy cow, they speak Russian.

I woke up, though, and felt like it was time to finally buy a plane ticket. The only known event in my future life was this: I wanted to get to the Ukraine sometime in April.

Expedia and Kayak became my best friends as I searched for the right flight. I had been planning on flying to Budapest and take the train, from there, to the Ukraine. But, it seemed like flights were all stopping in Moscow, first, anyways.

Without much thought, I went ahead and purchased my ticket.

I will be departing from New York on the 17th of April and arriving on the 18th in Moscow.

The biggest headache of this trip could be getting the visa. Russia certainly doesn't make it easy for folks to stop by for a quick, "Hello." First I need to get a formal written invitation (getting that now) for about $30 and with that I can apply for the visa which could cost me a good $100.

I've been doing hours and hours of research on Moscow and how to get from Moscow to Uzhgorod. I currently had it schemed to go from Moscow to Riga, Latvia, to Warsaw, Poland, to Krakow, Poland, to Liviv, Ukraine to Uzhgorod, Ukraine.

Wait! Did I even tell you why I'm going to Uzhgorod? More on that later, I guess.

I wrote to the folks that I'll be living with in the Ukraine and said, "Hey, I bought my ticket!" Pretty much, that was me letting them no that I'm committed and coming after just 2-3 brief emails exchanged.

Anyways, last night I was doing all of my research. Trains. Busses. Hitchhiking.
I was trying to figure out the public transportation system in Moscow in order to get from the aeroport to where I would be staying, with Couch Surfing. It was going to be lots of connections to make and ticket booths to conquer.

This morning I checked my email and got this:
"I will ask our friends to help you in Moscow. I just need your flight information that they would meet you there."

I also learned there is a direct train to Uzhgorod from Moscow.

This is where God re-entered the picture.

"Shouldn't he always be there?" you can say.

Yep. And I'm still learning. I am so blind, at times. I'm used to making my own path (which isn't a good idea). He's incredible!

This was God jumping in and saying, "Hey, I'll make things happen. I told you to go to the Ukraine and I'll get you there." I was taking this and turning it into my own adventure. He said, "Nope. Let me do the leading. Let me take care of you. Let me provide. You just have to follow where I lead and listen."

Dannngggg.
As in, whoa!

God provides and conquers battles and opens doors even without me asking.

Do I still want to go to Poland and Latvia? Sure. But, all in time. If that's where I'm meant to go, I'll end up there.

Stoked for the Ukraine.
Stoked for Moscow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

We Buried My Grandmother in Yakima

Well, we didn't really burry her. See, we burned her up and put her ashes in a bench with Grandpa and my great grandfather and great grandmother.

Grandma's rockin' view. Rest in peace, yo!

We cried a lot. And that's ok.

November Second - Другого листопада

First, I need to start working on my Ukrainian.

November second in Ukrainian is Другого листопада but phonetically, it's Druhoho lystopada.
In Russian ,it's Второго ноября or Vtorogo noyabrya.

Yesterday I didn't do much.

11 hours of working with three clients.

Went to the home above the Quik Shop where I got to practice being unproductive with full deliberation.


Charming, right?

I wrote up a Craigslist ad for Dani. Sat backwards. Sat forwards. Andwas further educated about the sides of Haines I had not yet experienced and probably never will.

One topic of interest was how exhausting it is to witness, specifically, females attempting to get the attention of males at the bar. Females who ignore the rest of the female race and keep at it constantly, even when the males are uninteresting.

I twisted  my ankle on the first of November and wasn't sure, yet, how to get home. I'm still resting it as much as possible. I could probably find a way back home but I'd have to be in town, again, in the morning by 8 AM. It just didn't seem worth it.

Zum gluck, Dani has a closet. Looks like this:


I slept in there.

In bed by 9:24.

I read a bit about a man's Ukrainian upbringing in America and then his travels back to the Ukraine and Russia. I should have brought ear plugs because I am a super light sleeper.

I found out that my glow in the dark dragon stickers will glow from at least 9 PM to 4:30 AM!

In the morning, everyone was asleep.
I was awake.
Have to be at work by 8 AM.

Grabbed some brown rice and a can of beans to fuel the day.

My view, as I left the front door, was this:


Good morning, Haines. You're good to me.

And today's 11 hour shift turned into a 24 hour affair.
Hoorah.
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