Monday, November 29, 2010

Officially Winter

Well, We have all given thanks, stuffed our faces, and returned to normal daily life... 
Or not.

I made a quick trip to Montana for my Thanksgiving break, just to run the Huffing for Stuffing fun run.  It was wonderfully cold and snowy and the race went well.  I ran my fastest time yet and definitely earned my thanksgiving feast.  After that one day of fun, brother Dylan and I packed up all his belongings and a ton of tools into a giant moving truck and booked it back down here to the sunny south only to find that we dragged a little bit of winter along with us.  It's not as cold as Montana, but fall has officially ended here in Arizona.  It snowed for the very first time yesterday, however it all melted off within a couple hours of daylight.

Shaun spent Thanksgiving with one of our roommates at a co-worker's house.  They said it was a classic TV holiday complete with a senile old grandma.  How wonderful!

A holiday break from work and school is supposed to be just that... A break.  This break has been nothing but hectic and somewhat intense.  Upon arriving in Prescott, we had one and a half days to unload our truck into a storage shed and load up all the big things in our house before returning the truck.  It was a mad dash to box, move, organize, and un-organize, made even more complicated by the fact of not knowing where we were moving to and having multiple other people staying at our house while one of our housemates was still gone traveling for the holiday.  

Within a period of 24 hours we went from having a house to being homeless to finding a friend's house for all 7 of us to camp at to agreeing to set up a tent in a different yard to possibly moving into the house we're supposed to be moving in to, and back to staying temporarily in the house we're in. 
In the mean time, 4 of us are still trying to finish homework, write papers, and get to class on time.
And not to forget... there are three dogs, two chickens, and a fish tank in the mix of it all.
And a garage that we just tore down and are still disassembling.

Luckily, I think things are going to work out just fine.  It's winter, but we're still in Arizona.  It's not as cold as it could be and there are so many people here determined to not let us live homeless.
The deal on the new house will close soon enough and we'll be able to get a little situated before the new block and semester of school start.

Until then, we'll just all continue our little camp out/sleep over in our now unfurnished house and do the best we can with what we have... good food, friends, and positive attitudes!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall in Arizona

I should be working right now, but hanging laundry in the sun on such a beautiful fall day seems so much more rewarding.  11 am Shaun and one of our roommates came home with bloody mary and chocolate chip cookie fixings.  I've swept the leaves from the walk and the back landing and it's the perfect temperature to leave all the doors open.  Our place is so clean and organized since our landlord will be showing the house today, so it feels good to just sit outside and enjoy our alcoholic beverages waiting for the cookies to bake.  About once a week Suka manages to steal a fresh baked loaf of bread off the counter.  Today was one of those days, and a good one too!  A really nice loaf of Challah!
School has been going so well for me.  All my classes are interesting and I finish my school week with a field day every Thursday.  My Maps and Wilderness Navigation class drives out to some remote place outside of town where our instructors drop us off and tell us where to meet at 3:30.  We hike around in pairs with maps, compasses, and whatever knowledge we learned in class that week trying to find our way.  My group has only got lost once, but we were able to use triangulation techniques, taking bearings of a couple of known peaks to find our position along a road where the van was able to pick us up right on time.
My other classes are Writing Workshop and World Religions.  Evaluations for classes are based on a 'contract' you make with the instructor during the first few weeks of class.  If you fulfill your objectives in your contract, you pass the class. (You can also request grades, but I chose not to...just pass or fail.)  In my Writing Workshop, a class to help be become a better writer fully understand the concepts behind acceptable college level writing, my instructor actually suggested that I NOT be evaluated on spelling and grammar, since I seem to pay more attention to that than content.  It seemed funny to me at first, but it turns out that it is actually quite a task for me to intentionally not correct my spelling.  It's fun to twist the traditional view of education.
We're down to 2 chickens in the Bearclaw backyard, but they are very happy together.  The other two were eaten by something or other a few weeks ago, but  I'm designing and building a good chicken coop for the winter, and when that's complete we'll get a few more hens, hopefully to make a flock of 6 or 8.  In conjunction with a new flock and a new hen house, the Bearclaw family will also be moving to a new house.  There's a nice fixer-upper just around the block from our house, so my dad bought it to create an urban garden wonderland on the large property, and to give us poor starving college students a decently cheap place to live for the next 4 years (Shaun starts school this winter, but hopefully will take some summer classes to catch up with me!).  The moving party will be great, a full on barbeque and (around the...) Block Party, where all our friends can come over and walk around the block a few times with all our shit.
It's so strange to me that it's well into November and just now turning into fall.  All my friends (and me and Shaun, too!) can't believe that it's snowing in all our home towns and states, and still so warm and beautiful here!  It's going to be a great winter, if not quite a bit warmer than we're used to.
Harvey's ready for some cool weather, but Suka loves to lay in the sun when it's warm and in our bed when it's not.  The boys have been getting out a lot lately with Shaun and our roommates rock climbing any time they have available.  So much rock climbing around here, so close to town!  Shaun has been working at a little restaurant called El Gato Azul downtown.  He has a lot more free time than his last job, but it will be really nice when he starts school and can work through the Federal Work Study program.
It's really too nice to be staring at the computer screen and the computer's going to die anyway.
I'll go eat some cookies, listen to some drumming in the backyard, and lay in the leaves with the chickens on our giant trampoline.