Well folks, looks like KT did not take the hint to post (nudge nudge). I can tell you I received some "LOVE from Israel" in postcard form, so all signs point to her not lying about her trip. That's all the breaking KT news, now back to the regularly scheduled programming of me me ME!
At least there's lots of happenings to post about, as opposed to my standard: "in my copious free time, I was reading such and such article which probably will bore you to tears."
Suddenly the above-mentioned free time is elusive, everything is coming together and the other day I was all in a panic fitting everything on the calendar and making sure I hadn't overcommitted. School MWF of course. Saturdays I have a regular shift at the bookstore, 9-5. I've been tutoring through the local Literacy Volunteers. Ahh, I can feel the rust coming off those English teaching skills, and I've got a great student - young Japanese environmentalist surfer dude. Since he's only in town for a short while, we're meeting a couple times a week. When he leaves, now that I have a real schedule I can pick up a normal long-term committed student, like Karina in Middletown.
Also, I'm suddenly not lacking for singing! I've been able to go up to Palo Alto on 2nd/4th Sundays, and then on Tuesday we celebrated the return of local Santa Cruz singing! woohoo! Living somewhere with singing right in my own neck of the woods... it's been too long. Hmm, if at all... had it sort of in Middletown, but that was always a hassle on my part anyway. Oh Summer 05 when I was an honorary haydenville resident! (though I never got roped into any town meetings, zoning related or otherwise.) Ah, those were the days... Anyway, the singing here is surprisingly strong, all kinds of local singers I'd never met at Palo Alto or the Golden Gate came out of the woodwork. For once I wasn't the only one with pent-up singing-energy... I usually feel extra overeager amidst the laaaaaid. back. california crowd. I've been all self-conscious about that, but I decided my Sacred Harp just does not do "laid back", damnit. Anyway, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from now on! (Sadly we don't start until after 10 ET or we could have some lovely cross-country vibes.)
Err, non-singing readership? Still awake there? My most exciting recent development is I finally got around to filling up those externship hours. Starting today, I'm cooking for the Homeless Garden Project on Thursdays. If you're too lazy to click on the link, they provide job training and support, run an organic farm, and involve the community in lots of ways. I had some reservations, like their "kitchen" is a little shack with a propane burner, and I was warned some of the guys complain about the lack of meat. But I showed up at the farm on Tuesday to check it out and meet some of the crew, and it's just sort of exactly what you'd imagine. The place and the people just bubbling over with happy santa-cruz-non-profit-organic-farm vibes, and sooo welcoming. The Tuesday cooking volunteer is this great 70+ woman who said she needs to take a sabbatical because she's been cooking there for 9 years and "I want to have erotic dreams, not dreams about spaghetti!"
So, I just jumped to it. I got free reign of whatever they've got harvested at the farm, and a surprisingly high quality pantry of donations (organic eggs from the local natural foods store, grains and beans from local organic suppliers, olive oil / balsamic vinegar, lots of random asian stuff like vats of chili paste... hmm...). Took some home and whipped up soup and oat/peanut butter cookies in my Kitchen with a capital K. Then got to spend the beautiful sunny morning out at the farm while the crew harvested wildflowers. One of the guys in the program is really interested in learning about cooking, so they pulled him out of the field and I get a little assistant! It's a lot of fun to just throw things together from whatever they have leftover in the cooler (chard, limes, lots of bread) + whatever random donations show up (ginger, yogurt, power bars) + whatever I want to harvest (basil/lettuce for the salad). And everyone was sooooo enthusiastic about the food and sooooo overjoyed to have me there, and sooooo positive about eating healthy food and asking me about my school and nutrition, etc. And they sent me off with a fresh bouquet of flowers. Um, I have to proclaim it the most rewarding thing EVER. (And the meat-eating hecklers? Totally my buddies now. When it comes down to it, they're just two more in the long and proud tradition of misbehaving little boys.)