January 18, 2017

Diving in...or out?

This month's goal has been to Control What's Controllable. So for the last couple weeks I've been focusing on doing something when I can, and letting things go when there is nothing to be done. I've already learned a really important lesson about myself too!

I'm not good at it. But I'm trying.

The main thing I've noticed that puts my knickers in a twist is my work life. It's never quite been what I want it to be and it's time to change that.

For the last 7 months I have been working as an Office Services Clerk at a Law Firm downtown. I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to work here, as the job just happen to fall in my lap during my summer unemployment. I work with some fun and friendly people, and it's nice to have a job. But it is unfulfilling, and not very challenging, and just not in any field in which I would like to grow.

Before this job, I was laid off from a job I had been in for 5 years, and miserable for 3. I was working for a nonprofit whose mission I believed in, but I was a remote employee, and had a difficult time growing and learning and being a part of the team. But I tried, and I went home frustrated most days, and I exhausted myself past the point of burn out in that job, for the paycheck.

See, I have a tendency to stay comfortably miserable for fear of failing if I try something else. I'm terrified to do things I'd actually be interested in, or that might actually be challenging, because if I fail, I don't know those repercussions. I know how devastating losing a job I hate is, I can't imagine losing one I love.

Fast forward to today, when I find myself in a very VERY fortunate position of having an amazing husband with whom I have worked hard over the past year and a half to position ourselves decently comfortably financially. We entered into married life with only student loan and mortgage debt, as well as retirement accounts and little safety net. We are so very fortunate to have the opportunities to be in this position, and he's letting me take advantage of that fortune.

So I'm quitting my job. Actually leaving a job voluntarily, and diving into unemployment (as I can see it now). I'm jumping into all the things we want to do that don't fit into the 9-5 world. I'll be spending time working on some projects we want to get going as well as focusing inward towards my strengths and how to utilize them. And although I will be looking very hard over the next few months for a job that I can grow in and be proud of, I will also be spending time taking care of the house, and myself, and our relationship in ways I am unable to do with all of my personal tanks running on empty.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and preach to quit your job, and take a chance and travel the world... because it's unrealistic for about 99.9% of people.  But if you could possibly, how can you not?

How can you stay comfortably miserable the sake of being uncomfortably fulfilled?

Stay tuned for updates!


January 3, 2017

2017 Monthly Challenge

Clearly I need a catchy new name for my challenge... "12 Goals for 12 Months "? "12 for '17"? "The Year Lindsey Tries to Stick to Something for the Love of All That is Holy?!!!"?

This year I've decided to pick one goal to focus on every month in the hopes that they build on each other and make this year productive and fulfilling. The 12 goals aren't really fleshed out all that greatly yet, but I could either hem and haw and get them all perfect in my head, or just start doing them and start with today. I hear there is no greater time to start something.I'll post the rest of the months' challenges before too long but in order to get started. Drum Roll for me in your head, please:


This is a great struggle of my life, having been raised by a long line of (as my mom would call us) Control Enthusiasts. I do not accept that there are things in my life that cannot be controlled, I nit pick at all the things that can, and mostly stand around in a state of unrest and inaction worrying about my intense lack of control.

Enough already! Instead of being upset at all the things that I cannot control, wasting preciously scarce brain power, I'm going to do things that I can. If something is bothering me, or something needs done, and I have control over it, it will be done this month.

Laundry piling up? I can fix that. Budget out of control? I have an app for that (seriously, the Every Dollar App - Dave Ramsey- Check it out). Getting Chubby? I can work out. Have a shitty job? This one's going to take longer than January, but it's being worked on.

I have spent a great deal of my time doing nothing because everything feels so out of control. It seems too big, too insurmountable to fix my cluster f**k of a life. But I know that when my house is clean, and the clutter is put away, and I'm on top of the every day minutiae that can build up, that life seems brighter and more hopeful.

So there it is ladies and gents. I'm controlling the controllable. And more than that I hope to share my journey here with you. The struggles and the successes, and all my ridiculous stream of consciousness thoughts along the way.

If you're interested in doing a similar program - get in touch! Let's commiserate and celebrate!

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2016

Honeymoon and Beyond

In true Lindsey fashion... I didn't complete my honeymoon blogging. The reasons for this are actually less Lindsey-ish than usual.

The morning of the elephant experience was terrible. I thought we were going to a conservatory or elephant rescue. Instead, we went to a place where the elephants were visibly upset, ridden for entertainment, and "trained" to entertain the mulitudes of clueless visitors. I convinced myself that there was cultural differences, I convinced myself that everything was okay. Even to the point of buying one of the paintings done by an elephant. When we got back to the hotel, I couldn't shake the feeling of extreme sadness I felt from one of the mother elephants (chained to a fence, clearly in distress as people fed her baby). I did more research on the "training" people do to get elephants, these gentle, giant, intelligent , living creatures, to perform the ways they did. And then I cried for the remainder of the day.

***In order to attempt to restore some sense of balance in my heart, and in the universe, Alex (who was a genius to come up with the idea) and I will be auctioning off our elephant painting and donating all the proceeds to an elephant rescue or foundation of some sort. As soon as we find one that's worthy we'll begin the process. ***

Despite the elephant camp misstep, the honeymoon carried on in Chiang Mai, a new favorite with tourists as I'm told and we could see why. The night market (which every city had) sprawled out across many city blocks. A dizzying and claustrophobic maze of vendors selling art and clothing and food and anything you can imagine. There was a large food court in the center with all the kinds of food you could imagine, and all at a bargain price and delicious. It was only a few steps from our hotel and Alex and I found ourselves getting lost in it every night. Trying new food, and buying up all the knick knacks.

The last night in Chiang Mai, we had a Thai cooking class. Our chef first took us through the open air market to teach us about different Thai ingredients and the differences between cocunut milk, cocunut water, and coconut cream and how to make them all. We then loaded up in another open air bus (see, back of a pickup truck) and drove outside the city limits to the "Best Thai Cooking School:. There we learned how to make Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Panang Curry, and mango with sticky rice (a local favorite dessert... I didn't care for it...where's the chocolate?!). Alex got a little overzealous with tossing food in the wok and gave me a nice souvenir burn on my arm, and then we ate like kings.


The last few days of the honeymoon were spent in our private pool villa in Phuket. We ventured out only 1 day to kayak through the limestone caves and set our loy kratong out to sea amongst the bio-luminescent plankton that night. But other than that the last few days were rich with  beach view dinners, a couples massage, and lots of naked pool time in our little corner of paradise. I'll spare you further detail... wink wink nudge nudge.

All in all the honeymoon was a success and not even 40 hours worth of travel back home could ruin it. We're now in the process of digging through 2000 pictures to weed out the best for social media viewing!


November 25, 2016

Honeymoon Day 6-8

Disclaimer: My tense changes quite a bit in these posts as I am writing them at varied times in the experience! I’m too lazy right now to sort it all out, I just want to get it down!

Day 6:
We woke up early, yet again, to get on the road as we continued to travel northward towards Chiang Rai, in the Golden Triangle. Along the way we stopped at a lovely little lake side town and had the best vanilla latte I’ve ever had… or maybe I just really needed a coffee!
We arrived in Chiang Rai and drove right through it a bit further north to take a small trip along the Mekong River the border to Laos, Myanmar (which our local guide still calls Burma) and Thailand. This area of the world (Golden Triangle) is also at the center of the world Opium trade. We stopped inside an Opium Museum to learn more about the trade and history of opium in the far east. We got to our hotel around 7pm that night. A lovely little resort and spa called Phowadol.
Alex and I told the SmarTours people it was our honeymoon, and since this was my second trip with them AND our honeymoon, we’ve been escalated to VIP status on this trip. This means that we’ve had a room upgrade in every single hotel room we’ve had. This particular upgrade turned out to be a little bungalow with a patio looking out on a quiet fish filled pond. We showed up, the lady gave us our room key and then we were whisked away on a golf cart, a little way away from the rest of the group staying in the traditional hotel, to our bungalow.  We then grabbed a quick dinner, walked around the quiet moonlit grounds and turned in.

Day 7:
Today we signed up for the optional Hill Tribe people tour. In the mountains, along the border of Myanmar and Thailand, there are tribes of people living in poverty. From what we gathered from our guide, at least one of these tribes is displaced from Myanmar, but due to the political situation there, they do not want to return. They’ve been in Thailand for 14 years now, but do not wish to become Thai citizens because they hold out hope that they will return to their country.
We were told by Boeing that we could buy some toiletries and school supplies for the hill tribe people before we went up the mountainside that we could give to the people. Naturally, I did. We left our bus and hopped in two local taxis which were basically converted pickup trucks with us sitting sideways in the bed of the covered truck. We then sped up the mountain roads to see the Hill Tribe people.
We expected to be greeted by typical village life, and instead we were greeted by people walking up to us with their hands out when they saw we had things to give, and just rows of stalls at another market. It seems the way of life for these people is to sell to the Westerners who come to experience them. I handed a toothbrush and toothpaste to a woman, and immediately had 8-10 other women swarm me with hands out pointing at things I had in the bag, demanding them. I gladly emptied the bag so as not to experience this again. It is hard to feel positive about the interaction because I cannot distinguish whether or not what we were doing was at all helpful, or was just enabling. As I do not know all the intricacies of the situation, I will not comment further.
Around 1pm we got back to our hotel and shoveled our buffet lunch down our throats to get ready for the White Temple, which Joe and Gina made us aware of, and organized cabs from the hotel to take everyone who wanted to go.
The White Temple was built recently (2000’s) and is still under construction today. It is being built by a local artist who saw it in a dream. He does not take large donations from individuals who wish to worship there, on Buddhist Principle, and has funded most of it himself. The outside of the temple is a stark, pure white, with mirror mosaic’s lining the detail. There are many sculptures and modern day masks of heroes and demons (ie: Iron Man, Gollum, Hellboy) all hanging from trees and rows of hanging “leaves” with people’s wishes and names on them. For 30 baht you can buy a lucky leaf to hang on the grounds. Alex and I got our leaf and I wrote our wish signed and dated it, and hung it up.
Inside the temple there was a modern mural with the motifs of aging man, good and evil, and many other things lining the interior walls. We were not permitted to take pictures inside of the temple, so we do not have any, but images can be seen online. There was a mural of 9/11, modern characters such as Pikachu and Spiderman, and famous faces such as Elvis all lining the walls. It was interesting, after so many ancient and historical temples, to see a modern take on Buddhism and the world in which it exists from this artist’s perspective. Alex and I loved the art style and purchased a couple of prints for our home. One, a scene of heaven, and the other, a portrait of Ganesha (a Hindu God).
As we got back to the hotel, we decided not to join the group on their trip to the night market and just relax in our beautiful suite. We laid by the pool for a bit, we grabbed nice dinner, rented a DVD, and relaxed back in the room. Around 9:30pm Joe and Gina came by and we drank beer on the patio for an hour and chatted before turning in for the night.

Day 8:
Today we left Chiang Rai to travel southwest to Chiang Mai. On our way we stopped at many handy craft stores and learned how local people in the Chiang Mai Province make lacquer handicrafts, silver, paper, and celadon. We were hurriedly rushed through all the explanations and stores and I was very overwhelmed. Alex, of course, bought a chess set made of celadon and we headed to our hotel where we arrived at 4:30pm.
After a brief rest up in the room, to reset my brain and recharge for the night, we got a call from Sonal on our bathroom phone (we got another room upgrade!) and we headed out to the night market that surrounds the hotel. It was stall after stall, street after street, of people selling souvenirs, artwork, clothing, food, tattoos, and basically anything one can imagine.
We then grabbed a quick drink at the hotel bar and got ready for bed as we had an early date with elephants!

November 21, 2016

Honeymoon Day 5

This morning was an early morning as well. We woke up and were in the bus ready to go by 8am. Our first stop was a buddah foundry where we saw many people working on casting, and decorating the buddah statues. There were so many statues I had to ask Boeing what to do with my feet. As it is considered rude to have your feet point at a buddah image (Interestingly It is also rude to touch anyone, even a loved one, on the head). Boeing, and some fellow travelers who are Indian, informed me that the buddah was not sitting in a sacred space after being blessed. So this was not an issue in this space.
Attached to the foundry was a rare bird sanctuary where we saw many exotic birds. I made 2 bird friends and one bird enemy. My two friends responded to my imitation bird noises, and one, who was the size of a toddler, gladly bounced back and forth with me, happy to be interacting with people. My bird enemy wasn’t having any of my shit, hated my noises, and turned his butt to me every time I walked by!
Next on the agenda was a bit more driving to the first Capital of Thailand, Sukhothai. Much like Ayutthaya the grounds were reminiscent of Angkor Wat. Brick columns, floors and Stupas littered the large grounds of the beautifully landscaped and protected park. Irrigation ponds and natural ponds were full of lotus blossoms and lily pads and since it was Monday the tourists were few. On our way out we encountered a large group of children on a field trip to the park who kept practicing their English on us and smiled broadly as they waved us away down the line.
On the way to Lampang, where we stay tonight, we also stopped at a small textile museum and an ancient pottery kiln ruin. It was amazing to me that, because of a crime rate of about 2% nation wide in Thailand, there were still many artifacts of pottery in the kiln and no major security around it.
Once we arrived at the hotel we quickly grabbed our things and went off with Joe and Gina and Sonal. Joe and Gina are from NM originally and on their honeymoon as well (not sure if I’ve mentioned them yet) and Sonal is from California and is traveling alone. We all went to a candy shop down the street to try the local treat which is made in a Lampang factory. It is a rice cereal treat with various flavored glazes. We chose watermelon. Snacks purchased, we headed around the neighborhood to a couple street vendors and grabbed dinner, then to a nearby bar where we had some Singha, Chang and Leo beers and Joe bought a bottle of Johnny Walker Black (750mL) that everyone thought would be too much…but 3 of the group managed to finish it off. We’ll see what kind of shape they are in tomorrow on the windy northern Thai roads!

Honeymoon Day 3 Cont & Day 4

The evening of Day 3 concluded with the Siam Niramit dinner and show at the National Theater. The show is reportedly a $40 million extravaganza and it shows. The sets were elaborate, the costumes colorful and stunning, and the dance numbers included 2 live elephants, 5 goats, and at least 4 roosters. I am wary of the ways the elephants were treated and it was hard to enjoy those parts, but the rest of the show was very enjoyable. At one point a river showed up downstage, deep enough for a guy to jump in and swim, and it flowed, and there were water cannons in it, and it rained into it at one point as well. The story was many vignettes of Thailand’s culture and history and was very easy to follow even without speaking more Thai than hello and thank you.

Day 4:
We awoke early today to begin our travels northward. Tonight, we will stay in Phitsanulok but on the way we will have visited many stops, I will try to update this blog as we go.
First stop was Ayutthaya. The former capitol city of Thailand, now in ruins after the it fell to the Burmese army in 1767. It is hard to believe what it looked like in it’s prime, but the grounds were vast and the structures that stood, were a sight to see. The many Buddah statues I the city remain headless as the Burmese cut their heads off in a show of disrespect to the local people and religion.
As we were leaving the ruins, we walked through the flea market where Boeing (our guide) gave us a taste of the Thai version of cotton candy. It is a stringy, not as sweet, straw textured candy wrapped in a green rice pancake made by hand right in front of our eyes. We also tasted some coconut cakes, lotus seeds, and some water chestnuts. One variety which we have in the states, and one (shaped like a water buffalo) which we do not. They were all delicious though I’m a little nervous about how my body will react! So far so good on the food poisoning… but I am trying to be extra careful.
A little further up the road we stopped at the Monkey City, Lop Buri, where we went to the temple ruins now crawling with generations of macaque monkeys. We were warned not to stand too long in one place or they might untie your shoes, or try to take your jewelry. Alex and I walked through the temple grounds and one monkey, probably mistaking Alex for a tree, jumped on his leg and quickly off again. We continued to walk, I took a seat on one of the stoops in a not so crowded area and tried to lure monkeys nearby. Alas, none were having it. They noticed I didn’t have food. A couple very young ones came close, but they quickly noticed their mothers had moved on and hurriedly chased after.
After the Monkey Temple we stopped briefly at a tourist buffet for sub-par foods and a quick beer. Then we were on our way to Phitsanulok where we overnighted. There was a brief stop  at another wat with a revered golden buddah near the hotel. At this temple Boeing showed us a practice where you shake a bamboo cup with sticks. Each stick has a number on it, and the one that falls to the ground is the number of your fortune, which can be found in a cubby by the entrance to the temple. I got #4, and I had Boeing read my fortune. He said “This means that you will be very lucky at night, if I am expecting it is to be a boy, and the wish that I make will come true when I give birth to a boy”. This is the second time that I’ve had a baby boy predicted to me (the first being in the medicine man’s teepee in Browning)! As I left the temple I see two high school aged girls talking to Alex who had already left the temple as it was very warm and stuffy. They were practicing their English with him and were very happy to have the time. We thanked them for chatting and went on our way quickly to check in at the hotel, and get some air-conditioning.
The hotels have been nice. Alex and I, having told SmarTours of our honeymoon and my previous use of SmarTours, were upgraded to VIP travelers meaning that if there were upgrades available we would get them. So far both hotels have put us in suites. It’s a welcome surprise to make the weeks a little more special.

As there wasn’t much to do in Phitsanulok, we briefly walked the attached mall to see many western style and sized clothing, I tried on a bra that was a size bigger than I would normally wear in the states and it was still too small! Haha. We also saw, on the sporting goods floor, groups of kids practicing martial arts, in-line skating, and playing ping pong. When our journey to the mall was complete we returned to the hotel to enjoy a couple cold beverages and turn in early. 

November 19, 2016

Honeymoon Days 2-3

Day 2:

We started the morning with a tour to the Grand Palace. Home of the Emerald (but really Jade) Buddah and home of the Kings up to King #5. The day was very sunny, hot and humid like every day here in Thailand so far. The grounds were beautiful and, sadly full of mourners. Hundreds of local Thai people lined up, in all heavy black clothing, waiting to mourn their recently deceased king. Who, we are told, was much beloved.

Mid day Alex decided to go for a massage and I, being ever so ticklish, decided to stay behind and spend time at the pool. I ran in to some fellow SmarTours travelers and we shared a few beers and some laughs. It was a good thing I was having fun, because Alex's massage ran 2 hours long! Don't worry, reader, I was assured the extra time did not include any happy endings!

After our mid day laziness and pampering, Alex and I took a cab out in to the world so go to a Lonely Planet  recommended restaurant which apparently has the most expensive drunken noodle dish. The kitchen was in the alley, the folding tables were covered with plastic table cloths, and the food was delicious. Definitely worth the check of around 1000 baht ($28) for the 2 meals and 2 Singha beers and a water.

Dinner complete, we went looking for the Tower Skybar, featured in the Hangover 2 to grab a drink. Little did we know that this place would be filled with European tourists and the most expensive thing we'll probably do all trip. We get to the top, with a beautiful view of the riverbanks in Bangkok, and grab a standing table, no chairs, to take a look at the menu. We settled on a couple of the lower cost drinks... 1 glass of wine, and 1 neat whiskey (which was basically 2 sips) ...$40 USD!!!! Those are ridiculous even to Chicagoans. Maybe even to New Yorkers, I don't know. But we drank our one drink, and headed back down to grab a Tuk-Tuk back to our hotel. We got shafted by the taxi driver and the tuk tuk driver, but when shafted means a difference between $6 and $10 back home, it's really hard to care.

It was only 9:30pm upon our arrival back at the hotel, but it had been a long and sunny day so we were happy to crawl in to bed.

Day 3;

Today Alex and I took one of the SmarTours provided tours to the Damnoen Saduak floating market about an hour outside of Bangkok. We rode along the canals in a speed boat to get to the market. Once there we saw the canal packed with long tail boats, all wooden, some with live fire cooking soups floating down the canals. People sold fresh produce, rice and noodle dishes, clothing, souvenirs, and anything you can imagine. There were shops up above you could walk through and the boats all down below with the merchandise as well as those waiting to buy it.

We had delicious coconut pancakes handed up to us for 40 baht ($1.12) by a lovely lady who offered a free taste first. And got definitely swindled by a lady selling tiger balm. But she was very friendly, and you can't blame a gal for making a buck! We bought nice flowy pants for me, a top for Alex, 2 tiger balms, and a handful of spices that are hundreds of times more expensive in the states. All told we got all of that, 3 beers and the coconut pancakes for probably around $50. And that's all in an area where they are really used to tourists and prices are marked up. I can't wait to go north and do all our souvenir shopping!!

Tonight we have a dinner and show and I have to start getting ready - so more to come later!


November 17, 2016

Honeymoon Day 1

A brief outline of our first day before bed:

After 31 total hours of travel time, Alex and I made it safely to the hotel in Bangkok to begin our honeymoon adventure. We settled in to the hotel around 3am local time and were up and ready to go at 8:15am for the Orientation tour around town.

34 strangers including two other honeymooners, a single female traveler, and a handful of other mixed groups, loaded into our bus with Boeing, our guide for Bangkok and Northern Thailand. We drove around the very congested city taking in all the new sights and smells... oh the smells... until we came to Wat Traimit (Wat means temple, I have no idea what Traimit is). This temple holds a five and a half ton golden buddah. It was the Chief Monk's birthday so there was a large gathering of Monks chanting and eating together outside the temple. The golden buddah was stunning, the buildings ornate, and the crowds, pushy.

From Wat Traimit we traveled to Wat Po or Pho (Po means Banyon Tree so named after the Indian Government gave a Banyan Tree that is still in the temple grounds). Wat Po is home to the reclining buddah as well as many other smaller buddahs and a plethora of stupas (tombs).

We returned to the hotel right in time for lunch. Still tired from our travels, we got some quick lunch at the hotel and snuck in a quick 3 hour nap.

We then met the group for our Welcome Dinner and headed out to the lady boy show at Calypso and to get our fish spa pedicures and shop all at the Asiatique Night Market.

I promise to fill out more detail at some point but it's midnight and we have an 8am tour!

Love from Bangkok!


June 9, 2016

June 9, 2016

   So here I am again. I was laid off yesterday. 3rd time in as many jobs over the last 8 years. Today began another godknowshowlong stint of unemployment and all the fun that's included. Such fun as anxiety, depression, hopelessness and a general feeling of being lost.

   It's not what was promised to me. I was promised that if I worked hard, and put my mind to it, I could have anything. I'd sue the people who told me that, but you can't sue your parents for loving you and encouraging you. So you're lucky this time Mr. and Mrs. Ball...

  I can't really blame them though. other generations believed that, and it was rewarded. There was a time when the people upstairs knew your name, and valued your loyalty. You found a job that would provide for you and you kept it until you retired. Then you got something called a pension... anyone know what that means?!

   So my parents loved me, and knew I was a loyal and hard worker, and all the prior evidence pointed to me being a successful person. I'm tough, and smart, and funny (at least I think so) and a good hearted person, and strong. I would grab the world by the Me's and just rock it. But here I am. 33, another position eliminated at a company, sitting on my patio, writing blog posts about my unfair go at things.

   The truth is I'm okay. The truth is I know I can and will do better than this latest job. The truth is that I'll find a way and life will be fine, and everything will work again, at least for a while. I'm resourceful. I've done it before in a lot worse situations. I shouldn't have to. In a perfect world people see the value in me that those close to me see, and that I see. But the world isn't perfect. The possibility of a Trump Presidency shows me that, but I digress...

   This time I have the benefit of a bit of financial cushion thanks to some smart real estate transactions. This time I have a severance package to ease the pain. This time I have the love and support of the most amazing man that I can imagine, who actually loves me back (god help him). This time I may just have time to figure out where I really want to be, instead of jumping at a paycheck and the security of a roof over my head.

The point is, friends, that I have you. And my parents who I will not be suing, and my sent-from-heaven love of my life, and a gym membership that's paid off through the end of the year. I'm going to be great, and I look forward to coming out of this time, stronger, happier, and on my way to bigger and better things. So stay tuned, because I actually have time to blog again!

Love and thanks for the support!


June 17, 2015

Wednesday, June 17

Last night, as you all know by my facebook post, I was not in a good place. I cried multiple times, and generally felt exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually. I wasn't sure how much more I could give. But I filled up on love from my friends, and I (thank the universe) woke up this morning with a new attitude. Well, at least 75% of a new attitude. And if you know me well, that's about as good as it gets. lol.

So today started like any other, we left a group behind in Heart Butte to run the kids camp, and I took the other students and 2 Chaperone's to Browning to more established programs. Well for the second day in a row, kids just didn't show up in Heart Butte. So change of plan, we brought everyone in to Browning. Then we needed Joe's help to get them all back this afternoon in time for horseback riding, which was then cancelled due to rain. So needless to say, today did not go well. We also had canceled our cook for tonight because of horseback riding, so we were fending for ourselves for dinner.

So here we are with 18 hungry volunteers and no cook, and they're all sad and wet. Thankfully one of the chaperones loves to cook and was very good at it! She whipped up some pasta and sauce, and squash cooked with bacon and maple syrup (which I had little faith in but was actually delicious) and some English muffin garlic bread and it was a delicious meal. To top it off, I happened to find some "just add water" brownie mix in the cupboard that belonged to the church - so I borrowed that and made them some well deserved brownies as well.

Now, since my boss and various other Global Volunteers staff are friends of mine on facebook, I must acknowledge that it is against our policy to provide brownies, and for that I am sorry. But not really because my team needed a pick-me-up and so did I. So if I have to replace those brownies out of my own pocket, so be it! lol.

The day ended with Monopoly and Life and a real sense of family and community here in our little bubble of a church. Some tensions faded away from those carrying them, and we found some harmony.

Now, if the rain will just stay away tomorrow, we can get on those horses! I'm 2 for 2 on missed horseback riding opportunities!

Love from Montana, and even a few smiles,