Archive for December, 2009

The MVSers go undercover

This evening the MVSers headed to Chez Target to do some holiday shopping for each other. But on our tight budget, how were we to do it?

Annie facilitated a name exchange that miraculously, on the first try, supplied each of us with a Secret Santa who was not ourselves. Don’t ask me who mine is, because it’s top secret and I won’t tell you. Tonight over dinner we took turns sharing our wish list with each other, and then off we went to spend ten dollars or less on a gift for another MVSer.

Imagine five twentysomethings skulking around in the store, peering around corners and hiding packages in their jackets. If you have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s, picture Holly Golightly and her friend Fred stealing from the dime store. They pick something up, look around to see who’s watching, put it back, again and again, lulling the watchful eyes into trusting them… and then out they walk, wearing their stolen merchandise. Here we were, trying to make sure the others didn’t see our selections, sometimes picking up a false gift to trick the others, looking around warily as we stand in the checkout lines. I couldn’t resist humming the Pink Panther theme to myself as I slunk suspiciously around the store.

I’m not sure whether Andrew, Ryan, and Ben ended up leaving with any merchandise; they sure weren’t showing us. But I got a good haul for my ten bucks, and my secret santa is likely in for a surprise – I hope it will be a pleasant one for him or her!

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Laura Starts New Job

That’s right! At the time of this writing, I am officially fully employed! Thank you to everyone who gave me advice, recommendations, ideas, and support as I searched for volunteer opportunities.

I’ve been working at Environment Wisconsin, my first half-time placement since the beginning of October, so just over two months now. My title is Office Support, and I work for three of the members of Environment Wisconsin: RENEW Wisconsin, the Sierra Club (John Muir Chapter) and the Partnership for the National Trails System. More on these later.

Today was my first day at the second of two half-time placements: the Ice Age Trail Alliance. As one of the twenty-eight National Scenic and Historic Trails, the Ice Age Trail Alliance dovetails nicely with my work at the Partnership for the National Trails System. In fact, as I catalogued articles in the Ice Age Trail’s quarterly newsletter, Mammoth Tales, I noticed many names I already knew, including Gary Werner, my boss at the Partnership. Ahh, it feels like home already.

Looks like I’ll be working partly on the article catalog and partly on organizing the IAT’s archives (something I know how to do pretty well already thanks to my work with the Sierra Club.)

So there you have it: a fully-employed professional volunteer. Good thing it only took four months!


The Best Game of Uno Ever

All I can say is Ryan is hilarious when you stick him with a Draw 4 Wild Card, and Andrew can’t stand on his own two feet when he’s laughing. Not that he was the only one cracking up. By the time we were through with the Best Game of Uno Ever, we had washboard abs and tears in our eyes. It’s a bummer that Ben missed the whole thing, but it was good for the rest of us, because it gave us an excellent opportunity to pull a prank on him (which Annie and I have been itching to do for weeks).

We decided to “modify” Benjamin’s room in ten different ways, then wait for him to figure them all out.

Some were easy, like finding his computer screen cobwebbed with minty dental floss. Mmmm. Some were hard, like how we switched his two identical gigantic rubbermaid containers so that the bottom one was on the top.

I had to tell him where his computer mouse was, because it was in his bed (which Andrew short-sheeted) and he needed to use it. Ben, did you ever figure out the rest of ’em?

Anyway, back to the Best Game of Uno Ever.

We decided for our second round (Ryan had just joined us at this point) that we would change the rules a bit to make things more interesting. So instead of the normal rules, which tell you (with good reason, as we found out) that you do not get to lay a card after receiving a Draw 2 or Draw 4, instead of those rules, we decided to say what the heck, go ahead and play after you’ve drawn your four cards or two cards or whatever. We figured it would be easier to get rid of cards that way.

We were dead wrong.

After I amassed a hand whose contents were approximately half the entire Uno deck, and after Andrew had reshuffled the discard pile approximately eleven times (since we kept running out of cards), Ryan had to leave to pick up a bookshelf from the Gannaways (thanks, Trent, for the use of your truck, by the way). We took a break. Ryan came back, and we continued to play.

Thanks to the break, things were back in perspective, and we realized that this game was going to be a perpetual one unless we changed the rules back. That’s right. If you let the victim of a Draw 2 or Draw 4 put down one of his or her cards, you will be playing Uno for all eternity.

In our case, it was only a few hours. We realized our grave error. We were lucky.

In the nick of time, we retracted the rule modification, only to realize we had become so completely addicted to the game that when one of us won (was it Andrew?) we wanted nothing more than to continue playing.

So it became a three-player game. Annie won the second round (although Ryan and I did our best to gang up on her with reverse and skip cards).

And then there were two. Ryan and I faced off for another agonizing bout, while Annie and Andrew cheered us on. Ryan was being downright sassy, so I called Uno on him just as he lay his LAST card down – then I played the final card in my hand. I had won a hairbreadth’s victory.

I think it was a little dirty, though, so I’m willing to share the title. And the laughter.

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