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Like Daughter, Like Dad

Laird's Blog -

OK, I know this is going to come across as fairly geeky, but hey, I was a math major.

Playing with Powers
Tomorrow, my daughter, Jo, will turn 27. Not only is that the bloom of life, but it's three cubed. While novel in and of itself, what caught my attention is that I'm four cubed (64 if you're scoring at home). I realize, of course, that it's not particularly difficult to have a parent who was 37 when their child was born, but think about it. Realistically, this is the only dual-cubed parent-child linkage that is likely without raising eyebrows.

Sure, I could be one of those older guys who just can't stop breeding (think David Letterman) and be 64 when my child was eight (two cubed), or an undisciplined teenager who got their family started right out of the box at the testosterone-enriched age of 19 (resulting in dad being only 27 when their offspring turned eight).

Powerful Playing
While you may think that math oddities are not a particularly loving or respectful way to celebrate the anniversary of my daughter's nativity, you'd be wrong. In addition to being related by blood, Jo and I share a geeky fascination with board games. (While I know that equates to "bored games" to many, not so with us.) In fact, she has boardgamegeek.com bookmarked on her laptop. 

Let me put this in perspective. Last month I spent a week in Guelph ON doing some consulting with forming communities and attending a four-day conference in nearby Kitchener. Because the conference ended too late for me to catch the once-a-day bus to Ann Arbor MI, I had a leisurely last evening with Derek, who was my concierge and chauffeur all week.

While I put a pork roast in a crock pot with vegetables for dinner—cooking for a group is an excellent way for me to relax—Derek rustled up some friends to come over for board games after I assured him that I thought I could hang with his crowd. After dinner five of us settled on a game of Puerto Rico, which is one of the first excellent no-dice games. It was released in 2002 and nominated for the coveted Spiel des Jahres Award (Game of the Year in Germany). Twelve years old—which is long in the tooth for board games—it's holding steady as the #2 rated game at boardgamegeek.com.

Having played before, I adopted the high-income strategy, emphasizing tobacco and sugar (which allowed me to buy the best buildings) and I cruised to victory with 25% more victory points than the person in second. In contrast, when I play with Jo and Peter (my son-in-law), I'm lucky if I win one time in three. When it comes to board games, I live in a tough family.

Additional Power Plays
While it would have been enough that July 23 is Jo's birthday, there's more. I learned Sunday that my good friend, Jennifer, has a daughter Cynder, who'll turn 16 tomorrow (which, of course, is two to the fourth). In turn, that reminded me that for five months last winter I was 64 (eight squared) while my stepson, Jibran, was 16 (four squared). Pretty powerful stuff, eh?
  Finally, on a less quirky note, Dancing Rabbit founders Tony Sirna and Rachel Katz will be leaving the community tomorrow to begin an indefinite leave of absence. As the last two standing since their land purchase in 1997, it's a fairly big deal. Last night the community celebrated their inestimable contributions with an appreciation evening, which included oral testimonials, the presentation of a book of written memories, a puppet show, cupcakes, and a dance party. (Isn't that just about the best way to be sent off with love?)

Here was the tribute I gave Tony:


This last May I got my 40-years-in-the-wildeness-of-community-living pin. While that’s a long road, for the last half of that journey I’ve been walking with you, Tony. That’s two decades. Frequently enough, we were in the same room.
I remember your first FIC meetings at Christ Church of the Golden Rule in fall 1995, where you helped staff the Community Bookshelf table. I remember visiting the Dancing Rabbit House that you rented on Prince St in Berkeley near the Ashby BART, before you started your cross-country land search. I remember facilitating the where-will-we-buy-land meetings on Sandhill’s front porch with Rachel, Cecil, Aaron, and Halley. We go back a long ways.
You have been a precious friend because, like me, you are a community builder, you've always been able to see the big picture, and you’re not afraid of the fire. We both know what it’s like to be heart sore about our community, and to come to grips with the painful decision to leave it.
I appreciate you as someone willing to trail blaze as a leader in cooperative culture, as someone who emphasized social change work ahead of income production, and as someone who was a good friend in a storm—and we’ve seen plenty of heavy seas together. You were at both of my weddings to Ma’ikwe: the first one seven years ago and the one last week.
While I’m sad you’re moving away, I don’t expect to lose our special connection. From now forward we’ll just have to substitute quality for a paucity of opportunity.
Whatever is next, Tony, my heart goes with you.
No matter how you slice it, July 23 is setting up to be a powerful day.





A Cesanella di Senigallia 18 appartamenti di cohousing - Senigallianotizie.it

Cohousing News from Google -


Vivere Senigallia

A Cesanella di Senigallia 18 appartamenti di cohousing
Senigallianotizie.it
Il cohousing è un modo di abitare sviluppatosi nel nord Europa, che prevede spazi comuni con servizi utilizzabili da tutti i condomini: si rivolge generalmente a quelle famiglie dal reddito troppo alto per poter entrare nelle graduatorie di edilizia ...
Arriva il cohousing a Senigallia, così architettura e urbanistica aiutano la qualità ...Vivere Senigallia

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Arriva il cohousing a Senigallia, così architettura e urbanistica aiutano la qualità ... - Vivere Senigallia

Cohousing News from Google -


Vivere Senigallia

Arriva il cohousing a Senigallia, così architettura e urbanistica aiutano la qualità ...
Vivere Senigallia
immagine Con il sostegno del Comune di Senigallia, della Diocesi e di Banca Etica la Cooperativa Consorzio Solidarietà realizzerà in autocostruzione un progetto di cohousing di 18 appartamenti alla Cesanella in via Mattei. Il progetto parteciperà ad un ...

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Author to speak at Silver Spring Library benefit - Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online

Cohousing News from Google -


Author to speak at Silver Spring Library benefit
Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online
Author George Pelecanos will read from his book “Hard Revolution” at 7 p.m. July 31 as a benefit for the new Silver Spring Library at Eastern Village Cohousing, 7981 Eastern Ave., in Silver Spring. Proceeds will support an early literacy center for ...

Author to speak at Silver Spring Library benefit - Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online

Cohousing News from Google -


Author to speak at Silver Spring Library benefit
Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online
Author George Pelecanos will read from his book “Hard Revolution” at 7 p.m. July 31 as a benefit for the new Silver Spring Library at Eastern Village Cohousing, 7981 Eastern Ave., in Silver Spring. Proceeds will support an early literacy center for ...

and more »

What the Duck?

Laird's Blog -


I've been living at Dancing Rabbit since November and we have a new thing that's been going on the last several weeks: the traveling menagerie. There's a subgroup here called Critters that has a bunch of, well, critters.

Not only that, but they move 'em around. You've heard the old saw about the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? Well the Critters operate on a variation of that theme: the grass is always greener if you keep moving the fence.

They have a lightweight flexible electric fence that allows them to construct a temporary enclosure, which they relocate every so many days for the grazing pleasure of their small herd of four goats and a miniature donkey. If you need the vegetation brought under control somewhere, let them know and you can get your field or side yard into the rotational queue. If you don't mind the bleating, and the somewhat irregular trim heights, you can effectively get your lawn mowed and fertilized in one go with no drain on the national oil reserves. It's a pretty sweet deal.

In addition, they're experimenting with a free ranging band of three ducks—Khaki Cambells to be precise, two hens and a drake. The image above depicts the breed.
Nowadays you can round the corner on a building and run into the duck patrol cruising the neighborhood. On the one hand, it's disconcerting (WTF, did I just see three ducks walk by?). On the other, it's evocative of throwback depictions of medieval village life, where humans and animals commingled far more than they do today (think Pieter Brueghel): 
While you don't tend to see many DR folks wearing headgear with ear flaps (at least not in summer) duck liberation has been a definite step toward inter-species integration.

To be clear, this did not happen in a cultural vacuum, nor is it without boundaries. For years, the village dogs (at least the well-mannered ones) have been allowed to enter the village pub on cold nights to cozy up to the fire, and so far no one has suggested that the make-way-for-ducklings movement be extended to include visiting privileges in the common house kitchen—for which I'm thankful (and so is the health department).

It's turned out that the unfettered ducks are popular (as well as novel). Among other things they tidy up under the mulberry trees, which are otherwise a damn nuisance when the prolific fruit starts dropping, staining everything sticky and purple. (Now it's just the duck shit that's purple.)

So far all the outdoor dogs, cats, and humans have managed to coexist amicably with the quackers, and we hope that continues.

While it's too early to tell if this trend will persist, the Critters are doing all they can to get their ducks in a row, so to speak, to secure and maintain social approbation. With respect to choreography though, getting ducks in a row is much harder to achieve. The little darlings do not exactly constitute a chorus line. (Have you ever tried to get ducks waddling in syncopation? I thought not.)

I've come to view them more as a band of roving minstrels, and I'm enjoying their spontaneous riffs—punctuated by their characteristic tail twitching dance routines—as noteworthy contributions to the improvisational passion play, Life in the Ecovillage, showing daily.

Maine contractors bet on active market for 'passive' energy-efficient homes - Lewiston Sun Journal

Cohousing News from Google -


Maine contractors bet on active market for 'passive' energy-efficient homes
Lewiston Sun Journal
O'Malia said G•O Logic, which built the first passive certified house in Maine and Michigan and recently completed the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, has 36 high-efficiency projects under its belt. Most of those projects target what he said is a ...

and more »

Maine contractors bet on active market for 'passive' energy-efficient homes - Lewiston Sun Journal

Cohousing News from Google -


Maine contractors bet on active market for 'passive' energy-efficient homes
Lewiston Sun Journal
O'Malia said G•O Logic, which built the first passive certified house in Maine and Michigan and recently completed the Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, has 36 high-efficiency projects under its belt. Most of those projects target what he said is a ...

and more »

Solar energy: How realistic are 'mandatory renewable energy targets'? - 24dash (press release)

Cohousing News from Google -


Solar energy: How realistic are 'mandatory renewable energy targets'?
24dash (press release)
Communities across the country are also attempting to adopt more sustainable schemes of energy production, such as The Lancaster Cohousing Project based in Forgebank. From the offset, it seems that a mandatory renewable energy target is a beneficial ...

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