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Valborg's Centenary

Laird's Blog -

If she hadn't died in 2003, my Mom—Valborg Gertrude Schaub—would have been 100 years old today. To frame that, the US was still two months away from entering World War I when she was born.

Do I feel badly that she didn't make it to triple digits? Nah. I had the sense 14 years ago that she was done, and wasn't interested in hanging around just for the sake of hanging around—which I respect. She'd had a full life and there are only so many times you can read Jean Auel and still pump yourself up for what amazing thing Ayla does next. Mom had reached the point where she lost interest in watered down scotch-on-the-rocks, and pushing the play-repeat button on life.

Mom was never that comfortable in the spotlight, but she was strong on the back benches and quietly competent: as the head of the household, as the first female president of the board of education, as the chairman of the Camp Fire Girl's Salt Creek Council candy drive (there was a time each year when we couldn't fit two cars in the garage because of all the candy cartons).

My Dad was a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but I owe my feel for administration and organization to Mom. Dad thought the world revolved around him; Mom knew it didn't. My Dad enjoyed eating out, but he didn't love food as Mom did. She'd wait until Dad was away on a business trip before bringing out salads garnished with white asparagus, or fresh beets steamed in butter. She'd gladly share a bucket of oysters with you but wouldn't even bother asking if anyone else wanted escargot or a wedge of ripe camembert. That woman could flat out eat.

This centenary is quietly being marked by all five of Val's children, all of whom (with partners in tow) plan to gather in San Antonio two months from now, where I'm confident that Val's spirit will be strongly evoked. Not just because we enjoy a shared ancestry, but because we enjoy the familial habits of eating, drinking, laughing, gaming, and storytelling upon which Schaub family ties have been founded and sustained.

I have every confidence, for example, that Alison and I will find a source of plump raw gulf oysters, which should go down well with a chilled bottle of gewürztraminer that Kyle will help ferret out of some rathskeller. Best of all, Susan and I will enjoy a long weekend of warmth, well before it arrives on the ore boats in Duluth. We'll get a sneak preview of what it's like to leave the windows up after sundown. It's been long months since we engaged in such risqué behavior in northern Minnesota, but it will come back to us.

There may even be rounds of ribbon sandwiches and Famous Wafers and whipped cream. Schaubber Jobber soul food.

HOMEFINDER: Saanich Peninsula Cohousing group seeks dedicated people - Peninsula News Review

Cohousing News from Google -

HOMEFINDER: Saanich Peninsula Cohousing group seeks dedicated people
Peninsula News Review
In the cohousing concept, Critchlow explained, like-minded people get together, share their honest expectations of what they want in housing, and come up with a plan. They form a development company through equity members and hire consultants and ...

Threshold cohousing community near Gillingham, Dorset has vacancies - Blackmore Vale Magazine

Cohousing News from Google -

Blackmore Vale Magazine

Threshold cohousing community near Gillingham, Dorset has vacancies
Blackmore Vale Magazine
The Threshold Centre near Gillingham is an established cohousing community, run by the residents, with the aim to live as simply and sustainably as possible. Cohousing enables people to have their own home at the same time as enjoying some shared ...

It's Been Quite a Year

Laird's Blog -

Exactly one year ago today my back pain had debilitated my health to the point where I was ready to turn myself in to the ministrations of St Luke's Emergency Room, in search of some relief. From that pivotal moment onward, I've had a incredible year—one worthy of some reflection…

Back on Jan 31 a year ago, it only took the St Luke's folks a matter of hours (and several tests) to discover that I was one sick puppy. The main problem being that I had an aggressive case of multiple myeloma—bone marrow cancer. This put terrific strain on my kidneys, which were limping along at 20% capacity, and I had been experiencing serious calcium leaching (common in myeloma patients) that resulted in three collapsed vertebrae (no wonder it was painful lifting things).

It took my St Luke's oncologist (Homam Alkaied) only a short time to map out a course of recovery—not that doing it was easy, just that the pathway was well described. The long-term plan was to get my cancer under control, but first they had to deal with my severe pain, imminent renal failure, and brittle bones. (Long-term doesn't count for much if you don't survive the short-term.)

I was hospitalized for 19 days, followed by 21 days in a rehabilitation facility. We were well into March Madness by the time I got back to Susan's in a wheelchair and 50 pound lighter. From there, gradually I did get better. By April I walked out of the wheelchair. My weight stabilized and a mixture of chemotherapy protocols (delivered via blood infusions) was effective in bringing my cancer into containment. I was able to manage my back pain through the judicious use of Oxycontin, and my body adapted to all the strange new chemicals flowing through my veins. 

By July I was ready for an autologous stem cell transplant at Mayo Clinic. That meant a five-week stay in Rochester MN, where I set a personal best for vials filled during a blood draw (19) and discovered I have an allergic reaction to three drugs—scopolamine, benadryl, and compazine—all of which resulted in temporary delirium and were highly entertaining. Eventually, my stamina lengthened, my nausea abated, and my appetite got relocated. On Aug 19 I was able to go home. 

After another month of R&R in Duluth, I felt strong enough to travel to and teach. Despite ongoing limits on my constitution (I no longer agree to six-week marathon road trips), the work has gone well enough that I'm now doing 1-2 jobs/month—a rate that feels sustainable even if I never get better than I am today.
• • • Thirteen months ago, I had arrived in Duluth Dec 27, 2015, intending a week-long visit with my sweetie straddling New Year's, but I was in such pain that I was bed ridden for a month—too sick to go home to North Carolina, or even to go to the bathroom. Susan brought me meals in bed. After getting the grim news from St Luke's, it looked like she might be giving me end of life care. Those were grey days for sure, with far too little sunshine.

Yet the sun shines today.

A year ago, Susan did everything—because I was unable to do anything. From a cold start last March (after graduating from the rehab center) I have slowly been getting my oar back in the water:

o   We have established a weekday morning routine that approximates domestic harmony: I make breakfast and coffee while Susan showers and walks the dog. She gets first crack at the Sudoku; I get first dibs on the NY Times crossword after she departs for work.

o   We do dinner parties again. While my energy may be questionable after dessert, I can be counted on to prepare at last half the dishes.
o   Though I may never shovel snow again, and I'm no account when it comes to moving boxes, running a household offers myriad ways to contribute that don't require a strong back. Though I'm only the back-up dog walker, I'm a serious help with dishes, and can sort trash from recyclables with the best of them.

o   Though Susan was handling my meds in March, now I do all my own dosing and calling in refills. While Susan was invariably chauffeuring me to and from doctor and outpatient appointments 10 months ago, some days now I drive myself.

o   Susan was used to operating her household budget wholly on her own before I romanced my way into her life in 2015. Though my moving in didn't change the budget very much (whew), we were lucky that my health crisis didn't either—thank you Medicare and supplemental insurance. Still, the future looked pretty shaky last March. I was no longer working and it looked like my medical bills were going to "above average" for the foreseeable future. 

With my cancer in remission, I'm again able to earn decent income (even doing work I love!). Our biggest challenge is not whether Laird will live to see another birthday, but when will we have sufficient economic flow that Susan can retire from her part time job as parish secretary at St Paul's Episcopal Church, so that we can spend more time traveling (and doing crosswords).

All day long, as I've reflected on the preceding 12 months, I've been unable to escape the overwhelming sensation that I've been one lucky dude.

These families defied the odds by staying in Seattle - KUOW News and Information

Cohousing News from Google -

KUOW News and Information

These families defied the odds by staying in Seattle
KUOW News and Information
At the Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing building, several families are preparing dinner in their shared dining room and kitchen. At least they were, until they cranked the music and started dancing, kids and adults together. It happened again after dinner ...

and more »

Writing as Inspired

Laird's Blog -

When I started this blog 10 years ago I embraced an arbitrary goal of publishing every three days—a pace that I was pretty much able to maintain for eight years. But I started slipping gears when I contracted cancer a year ago. Multiple myeloma led to multiple periods of hospitalization and some days I just didn't feel well enough to answer the bell. Upon reflection I've decided that's OK.

Having come back from the very edge of expiry, my priorities have shifted. I still cherish writing (and don't seem at risk of succumbing to the dreaded bane of writer's block) some days my back pain is too distracting (that was the case Thursday, when I took the whole day off), or other claims on my time take precedent.

Take yesterday. It had been a week since I'd last posted a blog, so I was overdue. But I was also trying to wrap up reports for a facilitation training that took place Jan 13-15. My professional commitment is to circulate reports within two weeks of completing an assignment. For a training weekend there are typically four reports. I had already done two but the deadline was looming Sunday (Jan 29) and this was more pressing than a blog entry.

By 5:30 pm I had finished my last two drafts and posted them to my co-trainer for comments. While that theoretically left plenty of time to craft a blog, I had had enough laptop communing for the day, and I no longer see the point of pushing like I used to. So, after watching the PBS News Hour to apprise ourselves of the latest misadventures of our new President (I guess we showed Mexico who's boss), Susan and I decided to catch a 7 pm showing of Hidden Figures, a powerful movie that lays out the extraordinary role that three black women scientists played in the US space program leading up the pioneering Mercury flights of Alan Shepard and John Glenn in 1961-62—despite the spirit-crushing numbskull reality of racial and gender discrimination. It was simultaneously an awesome and disturbing movie.

By the time we got home the only thing I had time for was wishing my son a happy 36th birthday (he and Sarah were in Las Vegas, celebrating with Jo & Peter). Though I didn't get any closer to him than voice mail, it warmed my heart knowing my kids were having a good time together. Thus, I had a lovely, full day. I just didn't include a blog entry.

And I'm pretty sure the sun still rises in the East.

Centro antico: gli studenti progettano una struttura per coworking ed il cohousing negli spazi del Policlinico - Ateneapoli

Cohousing News from Google -


Centro antico: gli studenti progettano una struttura per coworking ed il cohousing negli spazi del Policlinico
Si sono, infatti, cimentati nell'ipotizzare e poi nel disegnare una struttura per il coworking ed il cohousing, all'interno della quale si possa vivere e lavorare insieme, che potrebbe sorgere nello spazio attualmente occupato dal parcheggio dell'ospedale.

and more »Google News

$5 million cohousing property to become city's first - The Independent Florida Alligator

Cohousing News from Google -

$5 million cohousing property to become city's first
The Independent Florida Alligator
A $5 million, 24-home cohousing community in Gainesville will break ground next month, making it the first of its kind in the city. The Gainesville Cohousing, located at 4500 NW 27th Ave., will break ground Feb. 3 and take about a year to complete ...

​Baugruppen: It's a cooperative living concept, and it's perfect for boomers - Mother Nature Network (blog)

Cohousing News from Google -

Mother Nature Network (blog)

​Baugruppen: It's a cooperative living concept, and it's perfect for boomers
Mother Nature Network (blog)
R50 – cohousing is a new model typology for low-cost and affordable housing offering a maximum capacity for adaptation and flexibility throughout its lifetime. Social, cultural, economic and ecological aspects have been considered equally to define a ...

Google News


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