Tuesday, May 10, 2005

anyone there yet? 


its been a long frickin time since anyone has written to this blog. geez, i almost forgot my password. somehow i remembered it. i noticed that nobody has written here in over a year.

well, i thought maybe i'd get this thing going again just to see if anyone still cares.

my life as of these days:

living in pittsburgh. participating in the mennonite urban corps program--working in historic preservation and cultural conservation. its interesting. my term ends soon and i'm not sure what's next. all i know is that there are more adventures to be had.

i still keep in touch with my cabinmates. neil is here in pittsburgh, he's an urban farmer. i saw tom at his farm in goshen a few weeks ago. and i know doug is finishing his masters in new york and dan is in arizona. i know that tina is in wisconsin with her husband and i've heard recently that heather and her husband moved up to minnesota. i talked with katie recently, she is on a farm on orcas island, washington. and i believe aaron and his wife are still in south korea. i also know that sara jo and her husband moved to seattle. and i also believe that winona is back in lancaster. anyway, i thought that info may be of interest to any of you wondering where people are these days. if anyone else could contribute to this info, i would be interested in knowing more.

i hope that everyone is well, and that everyone still has that "o.e." spark somewhere in their lives.

live well.


Friday, October 31, 2003

cabin 8, yet again 

one week from tomorrow cabin 8 will reunite for the celebration of a certain somebody's wedding (not mine, of course).
thats right, another reunion for the infamous hotcake house.
more on this later.


Sunday, October 26, 2003

Dining with Ann 


Peter and I on a recent visit to San Francisco met up with miss ann speyer. We had dinner together at Ann's "second home," Little Baobob, a little cajun resturaunt in the Mission. Very good food and Great company :)

She left last Wednesday for two weeks in Haiti. She'll be visiting her sister who is teaching there. Can't say I wasn't a bit jealous.

That's all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

report from the mountain 

i was there, i was there!
the library has undergone some remodeling, the former camp shed is now the mail room/internet lounge (still dial-up, don't worry), the library phone is no more, arrow lost one of her legs in a highway 66 accident, erin linton is experimenting with living outside in a tent while she attempts to clean her room, jen and ray have another one (iris rain, or "rainy") five months old, their daughter lila is two and a half and very much like ezzie, the lintons have a new and spastic dog named cosette, nelson and jordan sometimes ride around on a motorcycle, "the loop" is still walk-able, the drive up the mountain is still one of my favorites in the world, the bark burner is now a designated smoking area, and i got my hands on the latest issue of the OE journal.
my weekend at lincoln was relaxed, full of talk and memories and the sweetness of the air.
the class of 1983 had their 20-year reunion this summer...anyone got plans for summer of 2019?

as john linton might say, shalom-shalom.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

the last graduate 

hello all,

its really good to see this new interactive digital life-form take shape. i must admit, at first i was a little skeptical. yet i really was excited to see dana's email in my inbox. its good to hear these voices again.
so here i am.
i finally finished calvin college three weeks ago. i am probably gonna stick around grand rapids for another season. since oregon, i have been working at a used bookstore, which i will continue to work at for awhile. the first thing i did when i got back from oregon was apply to work at this bookstore, and have been working there since. my perverse dream is to have a personal library like the one at lincoln.
i hesitated writing this because i thought, damnit i am just beginning the phase of life that many of you have already gone through. hell, some of you are married and have careers. i felt that everyone is grown up and i am still kind of playing this role of "college student", and that there isnt anything substantial that i have to show for myself. then i thought, ah fuck it, these are oregon extension students, career or not they are just as goddamned confused as i am. right?
so, ben boss in a nutshell: still wearin tattered jeans, dreaming crazy inarticulate possibilities, and still captivated by the sound of a gravel road and the scent of burning pine. and maybe i am just a little more digital.
my hopes and dreams: to continue falling in love, to work with gypsy children in transylvania, to learn more spanish, to spend winters in guatemala, to live in the hispanic neighborhoods of chicago, to make pancakes at midnight, to read a book or two, to listen to the elderly and the homeless, to write or song or two, to ride a camel across the sands of morocco, to breath in the stars with my friends and family, and to ride my old red bike to the end of the road.
i hope that all of your lives are beautiful.

benjamin (aka zen ben)

Monday, August 04, 2003

A blurb to think about... 

This is the last paragraph of "Beyone Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas," the book I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I just finished it, and thought this might inspire some people to pick it up, or at least some conversation.

But the fact that we have no simple answer does not mean that we can evade the question. We have also seen the hazards - even terrible harm - that sometimes results from unquestioning acceptance of religious authority. Most of us, sooner or later, find that, at critical points in our lives, we must strike out onour own to make a path where none exists. What I have come to love in the wealth and diversity of our religious traditions - and the communities that sustain them - is that they offer the testimony of innumerable people to spiritual discovery. Thus they encourage those who endeavor, in Jesus' words, "seek, and you shall find."

Hope you are all well.

Don't forget, you can view recent posts at [ oe1999.blogspot.com ].


Sunday, August 03, 2003

We Have Arrived! 

Hey all,

We have arrived & unloaded the truck, and are now in the process of unloading boxes & making this little house a home! It's been an adventure so far.

The trip out here was mostly uneventful and fine. A few snafus along the way, but we stayed alive & healthy, the cats stayed alive & mostly healthy (one got sick the day after we got here), and the truck survived with little-to-no beating. Adam wanted me to share the story of our biggest snafu with you all, so here goes:

Late Thursday, on the road, we were in eastern New Mexico somewhere between the border of Oklahoma and Albuquerque, and it was dark. Maybe 10pm? We were relatively low on gas, and didn't stop soon enough to fill up. By the time we realized we were really low on gas, we were in the absolute middle of nowhere. Ever been in the desert at night? Pitch black - a darkness I've never experienced before. Ever. The stars were amazing - the sky enormous - but we didn't really have a chance to stop & appreciate them. Exits were scarce along this desolate stretch, and when Adam finally saw one that said "gas", he took it. Just off the exit, it was still pitch dark. A tiny local petrol station was just to the right off the exit, but it was dark & closed - maybe permanently. Instead of getting back on the highway, Adam thought that maybe just over the hill there was more. I was skeptical, but kept my mouth closed...mostly. We got over the hill, and there was nothing. Black. Road. Desert. But we were a few dozen yards down the road before Adam decided it was futile. We couldn't turn around, b/c the street was too narrow. We couldn't back up & do a multi-point turn b/c with the car on the trailer behind the truck there were too many pivot points & we'd just jackknife & be stuck. We kept going. A sign said "gas - 23 miles". We probably couldn't make it that far, but had no choice. After 3 or 4 miles, I was freaking out, so we looked for a place to turn around. Tricky. We tried to use a driveway (there was actually one house about 3 miles down this road to nowhere) and that didn't work. We tried at a spot that looked flat, not flat enough. Finally we got to a spot where, as far as we could tell in the light from our headlights, the ground was flat enough on both sides of this tiny country road to make a big loop. Adam took the chance, looped around, I swore a few times, and we made it back onto the road. We ran out to check that the car was okay, it was. We glanced up at the stars for a few seconds, hugged b/c we actually got turned back around, and headed toward the highway. By the time we got to an exit with a real & functional gas station, we'd gone another 20 miles or so. In our 35 gallon gas tank, we filled up with no less than 35.4 gallons. Yikes. I guess we were literally on fumes.... Scary thought to be stranded on a desolate street in the desert with our entire houseful of worldly possessions, two cats, and no gas. But we made it. :)

Coming through the mountains on the last leg of the trip took 3x longer than it would have in a car, but with the truck & the trailer pulling the car, we could only go about 10 mph. The last 30 miles took over 2 hours. It was absolutely beautiful driving in here. The town of Silver is pretty much surrounded with the Gila (pronounced Hee-la) National Forest, so we drove through a good chunk of that on the way in. Amazing! Beautiful. It felt like Oregon or Washington - lots of mountains covered with pine trees. My expectations of the weather & terrain here have been shattered - it's better & more amazing than either Adam or I had pictured.

I don't have a digital camera or I would send you all pictures of the area & the house. It's a small house & it was very stark when we walked in. It's got character b/c it's old, but there's not much to it. The kitchen is the biggest room - with LOTS of cupboard space. That's the best. We just got the office halfway set up, which is how I've got email back. We have a few cacti in our backyard - little ones, but cacti nonetheless. It's very hilly here - the mountains are crazier than I thought. I didn't know what "high mountain desert" meant, but I'm starting to understand. The horizon stretches further than I ever imagined, and way far off after you look across miles of desert, are mountains. Not mountains like in Washington, but mountains. We have a big clawfoot tub in the bathroom, and a fake wood-burning stove in the main room. We'll probably never get that going, but it's sort of fun. It adds character to the room.

The weather is perfect - sunny, hot, dry. It's not hotter than GR summer weather, and it's not humid, so it's very nice. Not just tolerable - nice. Breezy all the time, which will be fun when we unearth our windchime. :)

There's a long driveway & a carport w/ a big storage shed in the back. There's a big front yard (corner lot) with a great shade tree in the front. St. Francis Newman Center Catholic church is across the street - directly across the street. For you CNA/C3 people - it's nothing like St. Al's. I bet you could fit St. Francis in the front lawn at St. Al's. It's nice too, b/c a lot of the people park down the street and walk to the church, or they live close enough to walk. There's lots of church-related foot traffic down our street, so we get to see people & maybe we'll meet a few more that way.

The next door neighbors have a little weiner dog. Yesterday the guy took his four-wheeler out for a ride, and took the pup w/ him for a few blocks. We had fun watching, but I'm not sure how much the dog liked it. ;)

We got a tip that firefighting might be a good job opportunity for Adam, so he's going to look into that this week. We found a few grocery stores & restaurants, and there's a nice little pocket park a few blocks away w/ benches & basketball courts & gazebos. There's actually some grass in the park too. ;)

It's greener than I expected here. En route through Oklahoma & eastern NM it was desolate desert and we wondered how anything can survive, but it's not bad at all in Silver. There are still trees & grass, just not as much or as green as GR.

We have a great open front porch w/ a railing, and we've got a few chairs out there. If any of you want to come by for a drink or a slice of watermelon or a popsicle, you are welcome to join us out there on the porch.

I guess that's about it for now. If you've got specific things you want to hear about, go ahead & ask & I'll be happy to update & fill in flavor text details as much as I can. I have to go unload some boxes before Adam gets impatient from doing it w/o me. :)

Love you all - stay in touch. So far we've (sort of) met a meager 8 people. Janine (my NM email contact through whom we got the contact for this house) & her boyfriend Nick, Judi (the real estate lady), Father Marcos & another guy from St. Francis, a waitress at Pizza Hut and a waitress & the manager of a little local Mexican restaurant. So we need to stay connected to long distance friends!!

Bethany Joy Lange (and Adam :))

Thursday, July 31, 2003

back to the bayou 

How lovely to hear from those who speak o-ese! I am currently enroute back to Jackson, Louisiana, where I will begin my fourth year of teaching 8th grade English. Some of you may remember that April Anson introduced me to Teach For America, soon after we read The Corner. So, that's how I ended up in Louisiana. It has been an amazing three years - I feel as though the range of my emotions has been stretched exponentially in both directions, from the frustration of wondering if I peaked at age 21 because I felt like a failure in my classroom, to moments of such incredible joy, which may some day rank alongside my wedding day and the birth of my first child (neither of which will be any time soon, but hopefully sometime in the future).

About a month ago, I brought 14 students (from all three years that I've taught) to my home in St. John's, Newfoundland, to participate in an international choral festival, called Sharing the Voices. The sub-theme was African American music, so my students (who were all black) were viewed as experts on this musical tradition. We met, watched, sang with, and partied with Bobby McFerrin. The guest group, the Linda Tillery Cultural Heritage Choir (out of Oakland - Ann, do you know this group? you should!) understood what it meant for my kids to come on this trip and really validated their presence there. Most importantly, the kids had a wonderful time, staying with host families and trying to absorb all the new sights (icebergs and whales), sounds (singing Carmina Burana with 700 vocalists), tastes (our apparently "season-less" fish and chips) , and smells (the good salt air). Now they are all asking me if we be returning in 2005...we'll see.

After the trip, I returned to St. John's for MY vacation and enjoyed two glorious weeks of hiking on the coast, sleeping in, going out with old friends, and reading for days on end. How luxurious. Some of the books I savored were Pat Conroy's The Great Santini, Douglas Coupland's All Families are Psychotic (but of course, we all know that from our time in Lincoln..), The Secret Life of Bees, the fifth Harry Potter (I was useless for two days while I read this one). Right now I'm reading Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol - which reminds me of the Corner. It's good for me to get fired up again about the social injustice in our nation, especially a week before I begin teaching again. Although I am really excited about this upcoming school year, it's hard to resume that mode after a few weeks of no responsibility. So, this book is healthy a jumpstart for me to remember why I'm down there teaching, which I never really forget, but it can get over-shadowed by lesson plans, parent phone calls, and incompetent central office staff. But I'm feeling invigorated and ready to take on the "chirrun" (children). Let the zoo that is my classroom begin!

I hope you all are well. Please let me know if you're passing through Louisiana - I'd love to see a familiar OE face.



Monday, July 28, 2003

what am i doing?? 

Namaste, everyone! This is Bethany, and I just discovered the world of blog. Neat idea, corny word, but I'll work with it.

My current situation is one of panic & anxiety, and I'm attempting to stay controlled & channel my anxiety into healthy excitement. I am approximately 36 hours away from leaving my lifelong home in Grand Rapids, MI for Silver City, New Mexico. I am absolutely terrified...and yet I can't wait to get there.

A little context: I graduated with my BA in English, got married in the fall of '01 to Adam Lange and started a term in AmeriCorps around the same time. I signed up for a second year after the first b/c I loved it, and I still didn't know what else I wanted to do. As an AmeriCorps member I worked at a free health clinic & did event organizing & promotion, volunteer recruitment, community development, etc. all related to health. So, I got hooked.

I'm now going BACK to school (I never in a million years thought I'd return) and moving across country with my husband & 2 cats - leaving all family & friends. In September I'll begin the herbal studies program at the New Mexico College of Natural Healing for a two year certification program. I'm really enthused about the people there & the program & the warm weather, but I'm apprehensive to say the least about all the unknowns, and the fact that my nearest friend or relative will be no less than 10 hours away....

Tonight's my last night in my house in Grand Rapids, so I have to go take care of stuff and get ready to relocate. Next time you hear from me, I'll have a whole new life. Crazy. I think I'm insane...but at least my hubby's coming along for the ride. :)

Current read (I like this trend):
Twilight Goddess: Spiritual Feminism and Feminine Spirituality by Thomas Cleary & Sartaz Aziz

Thanks all - and I love to hear more from you

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Exciting New Site Updates! 

Since marrying a computer whiz I have learned a few tricks of the trade. I've made some changes to this site that should make it much more user friendly. Here's the rundown.

1. The site is now up on the live web. So now you won't need to log into blogger to read the entries. All you have to do is go to oe1999.blogspot.com.

2. We can all add a title to our entries. Whatever you type in the 'title' box will show up in the grey box at the top. This serves a dual purpose... the grey box makes a nice division between the individual entries and it gives a little insight into the entry.

3. What if someone says somthing that you would love to respond to? Now you can. Click on the "comment" link at the end of the entry to post a comment. Note: everyone visiting the site can read these comments, not just the author of the entry.

4. Links. The right hand navigation bar is home to some links. I've got three catagories up there now... a)our own websites b) other sites that others might like to visit c) archives: once we have more than a week's worth of entries you can go back to read the old ones.

I've got one more project in the works... if you've got any thoughts or comments or if you want to add a link just let me know and I'll show you how to do it, or I'll do it for you.

cheers, rebecca

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