Michigan ~ Day 21

Scott officially has his preferred nickname for me: Aisaroni. He went with ais ais baby for a while, but nope. He wants his own creation written in my notebook.

Since we’re already on the subject of names… Today we celebrate Sts. Peter & Paul. This meditation from CatholicCalendar discusses a little more in-depth what Martin de Porres Kennedy touches on in A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’ Court:

Whatever else St Peter may be, he is not the model of a wise and noble hero. He walks on the water – but then panics and starts to sink. He makes the first profession of faith – and moments later blunders into error and is called Satan by the Lord. He refuses to be washed, and then, when the purpose is explained to him, demands to be washed all over. And, of course, he betrays his master soon after having been warned that he will and having sworn not to. If Peter is the rock on which the Church is built, what a fissured and friable rock it is! How much better, we think, to have chosen the Sons of Thunder, for their energy; or Judas Iscariot, for his financial acumen; or John, because he was loved the best.

The choosing of Peter teaches us a lesson. The Church’s foundation-stone and its first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful. He is a very ordinary man who makes about as many mistakes as we would in his place, and kicks himself for them just as thoroughly afterwards. If St Peter had been a hero, we could easily have despaired of ever becoming like him. If St Peter had been great, and noble, and good, we could have told ourselves that the Church is for the saints, despaired, sat down, and not bothered. But the Church is not just for saints: it is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like us – or St Peter. The rock crumbles, the ropes are frayed, the wood is rotten – but, although that improbable building, the Church, is made of such inferior materials, it grows (on the whole) faster than it collapses, and it is grace that holds it together.

And on St. Paul:

Paul does have a mind, and that raises problems in an age that doesn’t, that uses “clever” as a term of abuse.  Remember, though, that we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.

Father reminded us that they were two very different people and that there are instances recorded in the Bible where one can see the tension between the two because of their different views on certain matters, particularly regarding the salvation of the Gentiles vs. the Jews, but Father also went on to point out that they were united in the Faith, bringing different strengths and gifts and talents, and that through their respective differences, they still served to build up the Church and bring glory to God. Father told us that his names were Joseph, Paul, and George as his Confirmation name, and suggested that a healthy activity for all of us would be to learn about the Saints we have been named after, note their differences, and try to bring those differences together in ourselves and how we imitate the Saints whose names we bear.

That activity deserves a post in and of itself, and it is promised at some point this summer, but very briefly – Sts. Elizabeth of Hungary and Catherine Laboure had altogether different vocations, the former being married to a king, and the latter being a Sister. Yet more and more, and especially as I progress in reading In This House of Brede, I see how similar the challenges and the living out of the two vocations actually are.

I’m currently eating dinner, another stew that Jake made, and I knew without tasting it that pouring myself a glass of Cab Sauv was an extremely bad idea, but I did it anyway. And now here I am, with a half-grin and half-grimace on my face, because the stew, as expected, is extremely spicy, and you never pair highly tannic wines with extremely spicy foods, unless you like suffering in this manner. Ah well, it is what it is. The stew has okra, sibuyas, talong, kamatis, chicken, smoked fish, and who knows what spices that make it this hot. I’m downing the stuff like I haven’t seen food in months, and I know I’ll have a tummy ache later tonight, but it’s crazy amazing stuff. It’s gorgeous outside, but I’m sweating like crazy because of it. I’m also drinking more water in this sitting than I have all day, so, you know. It’s all good. I should add that Tim says it’s definitely one of Jake’s milder stews. Since I’m not crying from this one, I believe him. In anticipation of one day soon encountering a stew that makes me cry as soon as it touches my tongue, I’m going to chill some rice milk.

Oh, the people I meet in the tasting room. A family of four came in. The two boys were aged 8 and 9. I told them the ages of my siblings and the father said, “Wow, your parents are bold.” I told him that we older children had been begging for the youngest, and the father looked at his older son and said, “Now, don’t get any ideas.” He said it jokingly, but the implication made me very sad. Especially because later, the mother was asking what I wanted to do or be, and when I said that I really just wanted to be a mom, she said, “Don’t say, ‘just,’ sweetie; being a Mom… there’s nothing better.” It made me wonder… Well.

I think I can count on meeting people from Ohio every single day that I’m in the tasting room. Today, it was a couple from Athens. MCI came up, and then they mentioned the culinary program that Jared was in and I was like, hey…!!

Tim and I are sitting around with our laptops watching G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. WIN. I’m not sure where KK went; he was here for a bit while Jake was cooking, and when I asked to try a piece of the smoked fish before it went into the stew, he had Jake give me a huge piece which he must not cut in half and told me I must eat it. I’ve begun to suspect that KK thinks I don’t eat enough, what with feeding me fried plantain and avocado and large pieces of smoked fish…. Jake’s since gone to bed, Chris’ car is gone and I therefore assume that he is out somewhere, Kelly has been popping in and out, and Kelly and Patrick left to meet up with Kelly’s family for a weekend camping trip. I can’t believe it’s nearly 9pm; it’s as bright out there as it was four hours ago.

Hah, Ben and I had an argument about pectin during close-out. Scott stood at the tasting room window and watched us argue. He said he was amused, and then eventually bored. About halfway through, I just kept arguing because I could sense that Scott was amused. Well, and also because I was completely right… All in good fun, all in good fun.

Ah, Chris just got back from Petoskey. He told me in my first week that he spends more money on food than pretty much anyone else here because he has to stay gluten-free. And I still forget so often, it’s like Josh’s lactose intolerance… I know it when I’m consciously thinking about it, and then I get excited about some food item and completely forget. Kelly’s so awesome, she baked a gluten-free strawberry rhubarb pie so that Chris could enjoy it with the rest of us. Ben’s brewing a gluten-free beer with Chris in mind as well. We’re all watching G.I. Joe now, and boy do I hate commercials…

I got myself a temporary phone for the summer, and I was able to talk to Mom, Dad, Ninong, Tita Reena, Tito Nato, and Mama today. Mother said she’d call again, but today is Yena’s half-birthday party and I suspect the families are staying late. I wouldn’t expect anything else and it makes me happy to know that they’re having fun. At any rate, I’ll be able to get a hold of them tomorrow morning when I go to Harbor Springs for the Fortnight for Freedom rosary.

I really should do a walk-through video of the cabin. It’s too much fun in its present state to not want to document. My room is in the back right corner of the ground floor. Kelly is across the hall from me, and Tim is in the room next to mine. The bathroom next to Kelly’s room has a fully operational toilet and a fully operational shower, but the latter has no curtain and is covered in dirt and leaves, so no one uses it yet. A sink has yet to be installed and the paneling isn’t done, so the pipes and electrical stuffs are exposed. The hallway leads out to a very much unfinished room with a fully functional freezer (currently holding a ridiculous amount of fish and bread, our staples), a futon covered in tools and odds and ends, and a fridge which is plugged in but isn’t very cold yet. The futon is up against the outermost wall, which has a window, and also a hole for a door which is installed but stands open all the time. Thus, we are daily sweeping dust out of our rooms, which have rough and unfinished wood floors, window, and door frames. I never go barefoot down here.

Out through the door-hole, the ground slopes downwards. Do a 180 to your right and walk up the hill and a few steps up to the door of the second floor. This floor is completely finished, and looks incredibly rustic and cozy. Two words: log cabin. Seriously. We have a table, a couch with pillows and blankets all over it, a lamp, some side tables, a TV, shelves for everyone’s work boots, a kitchen with a four-burner stove and a small oven, two refrigerators and a small freezer, cabinets and drawers hidden all over the place (I haven’t finished discovering where all of them are), an island/bar area, super comfy bar stools, and a very random assortment of cooking utensils, etc., some from specific people. Jake, Kelly, and Pat sleep on this floor. Also on this floor is the bathroom which all of us share. No one leaves their toothbrushes or towels in here, but everybody’s preferred soap is in a different corner of the shower stall, which is pretty amusing, because everybody uses something different, and the variety almost makes it look like a store display.

KK’s room is upstairs, I guess you could call it the attic, and it isn’t closed off; the stairs and the banister leave it open to the second floor, so when KK bids us goodnight, it’s bedtime for all of us. Haha, when I say it like that, you’d think we needed it, but in truth, it’s not as if KK needs to enforce bedtime. We all head to our separate rooms pretty consistently at 10pm. The second floor has a deck with a grill, a lovely assortment of chairs and tables, some oddities like a hanging cylindrical box which allows one to grow tomatoes upside-down, and affords us a gorgeous view of one side of the farm, M119, and Lake Michigan. There’s also a small cabin one-room cabin about five steps from the stairs to the second floor, where Chris prefers to be. It is literally just a bedroom, so he still shares the bathroom/kitchen/common areas with us. We all park our cars in the back.

G.I. Joe is over and I’m now downstairs rearranging my room. I’ve started rolling my socks in pairs because it’s too much trouble to be rummaging around for a matching pair in the morning. I’m also making a pile of stuff that I will not need for the summer to be put to rest in the trunk tomorrow morning. Why on earth I brought all my black aprons, I cannot fathom. I don’t even remember packing them, but why on earth would I use them when I’ve got my precious denim? And my cobra shirt, what a laugh. No, fellow banquet class-mates, don’t ask why I haven’t burned it yet, please.

KK offered me Oberon, so I’ve got one down here with me. It’s a little hoppier than I tend to like, but still not as offensive to my palate as an IPA.

This summer seems to be some combination of a co-ed dorm experience and the living-alone-for-the-first-time experience. On the one hand, we’re all here and we all need to be respectful of each other’s space and keep the common areas clean, and on the other hand, we’re so much on our own in most respects. We have to figure out our own meals and take care of our own personal needs, plan on laundry days and shopping days, worry about internet and phone service based on our specific needs, are free to come and go and spend our nights elsewhere as we please without so much as a by-your-leave, and may or may not interact with each other on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t see Jimmy at all today, and when I got back from downtown Petoskey the other night, everyone had already gone to their own rooms and the house was quiet. God willed a perfectly wonderful and trustworthy group of people for me to share these new experiences with. The level of trust is amazing, and I am perfectly comfortable. Ok, no, wait, I take that back; I keep my cast iron skillet in my own room because I don’t trust anyone else to scour and season it. But aside from that… yeah.

I was chatting with Daddy from the tasting room today.

me: i like driving here, it’s like PA minus crazy exits
nice and open and mostly green and blue, very refreshing
Dad: be careful of wildlife
me: oh yeah, i’ve encountered six deer cross the road so far
*crossing
one was a doe with two kids with her
Dad: also be alert for cars crossing to your lane
me: mhm
ben says two bears ran across teh street on his way driving to work today
Dad: be careful of bears – they are not cute
me: yeah it was a mother and her cub
crazy stuff
Dad: in case you encounter one you must ball up and protect your head & face.
do not get close to the cub as the mother will surely defend

Ben says that Dad’s instructions are sound when it comes to grizzlies, but that with black bears, one should stand tall. I’m going to pray that God does not will for me to have any encounters with bears whatsoever this summer. I believe that would be safest.

On that note, I am finally tired and the sun has finally retired. Goodnight.

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