|Through the looking glass, #6||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: PattyMara (PattyMaraaol.com)|
|Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 14:54:24 -0600|
Hello list and friends, At Tierra Nueva Cohousing, Central California Coast life is becoming less surreal for me, as the reality of living here fills my life. There are now 12 households in residence, with 2 more moving within the next 2 weeks. Telephone hook-ups continue to be bottlenecked, but miraculously speeded up when the community enacted a strategy to call supervisors, Pac Bell officials and eventually the Public Utilities Commission. The common house is finally officially "ours" and we are no longer locked out by the contractors every night (which we remedied by using "the Santo Key"-a nine year old boy who climbed through a high transom window and unlocked the door with his foot). It is a sweet joy to walk up to the common house with a load of laundry, and find it open and clean. Our dinner group is transforming into cooking teams and we are experimenting with cooking, serving and accounting options. We figure we'll try everything until something feels right. The stressors of moving in, delays in construction causing late move-ins for some folks from out of town and state, and the to-be-expected glitches of living in proximity have revealed themselves in the disguise of "The Pet Issue". It seems to happen in every community, and we were warned and prepared for it to come up, and come up it did. Of the community members who are hot on the issue there are the ones who have 'em, and the ones who don't. Dogs in particular are getting the bad rap, especially the ones who aren't leashed. Feelings are running very deep, old time members are feeling hurt personally when their dogs are criticized or expected to conform to blanket rules. So we have decided to have a retreat next Sunday. Hopefully, we'll use the process skills we've been practicing for so long to craft a win/win policy. Any pet wisdom out there from those of you living in community already? Another hot issue is kids in the common house. We have a sitting room next to our large dining room that is called that, as well as library, living room, adult room and quiet room. The families with small children are raising the issue that to designate a room for adults only is not only restrictive to the parents of toddlers but also discriminates against children. We have not officially designated this room adult only, but some adults wish for it to be so. After a circle check at our last business meeting we came up with a nifty win/win. The room will be called the Quiet Room, and use of it will not be determined by age, but by behavior. Anyone willing to quietly read or visitor play can use the space. Babies and toddlers will be accompanied by adults and no food allowed. So storytime around the fire, discussion groups, board games, cards, quiet reading (our library is there) and even sing-alongs are encouraged, as long as the tone is subdued. When it revs up to roudy, there's our game room, kids room, mezzanine and outdoor decks to spill into. I'm planning on making a hand painted sign for the door as a visual cue. I've experienced some personal frustration in arranging furniture by committee. After a few hours of heavy lifting and moving of stored furniture into the common house, I have found little patience for the rigors of coming to agreement on where the couch goes when 5 people are involved in the decision. I've taken to leaving the room, letting others do the work, and releasing the notion that it has to be my way. As time goes on, the furniture seems to be finding its own right place. And I have on occasion come in later and moved it around somemore to finetune the placement, I confess. I've learned that some folks don't seem to have the same need I have personally to create a certain energy flow to rooms (and that includes lighting placement as well)...so it's more unsettling for me when a room isn't graceful. I may have to lower my standards, but I hope not too much. It feels important to the spirit of the common house to fill the rooms with life and color and beauty, so that they are used and enjoyed. It's getting there slowly as more furniture arrives, and artwork and homemade curtains and toys and kitchen stuff fills the shelves. Because we couldn't decide on one day to celebrate the turkey holiday we've come up with two feasts: Thanksgiving on Thursday and Givingthanks on Saturday. To accommodate different travel schedules and family commitments and give a chance for everyone to be present. Thursday's will be the traditional fare, and Saturday's will be a Latin American theme potluck for south-of-the-border-dishes that-use-up-turkey-and-trimmings-leftovers. Expected offerings are turkey-feta enchiladas and cranberry-chipotle chili salsa. I hope we can find time and uninhibited energy to dance up a storm at both gatherings. Dancing together is one activity that seems to plunge tierra nuevans into shyness...so I hope to facilitate a loosening up and a general encouragement to all ages to shake our collective bootie. I'll let you know if I succeed, Patty Mara Gourley Tierra Nueva, Oceano, CA
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