Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eco-villages

I am working on an independent study this semester.  My partner and I are researching how eco-villages generate revenue.  These are not the communes of the 60s and 70s, but intentional communities of people looking to minimize their impact on the earth.  I have been interested in them for a long time, but could never really figure out how people earn a living.  As much as it seems ideal to just live off the land, this is very rarely reality.  Europe has several mature eco-villages and are the leaders in the movement.  Unfortunately, I don't have the funds to visit those!  Thankfully, Missouri has several within visiting distance.  I am headed out to visit them later this week.  I am so excited! I have been following a couple of them, through blogs and Facebook, for several years and can't wait to visit them in person.  I am very appreciative that they have been open to our research and I look forward to learn from their experience.  Last week we visited a co-housing (hoping to become eco-village) in St. Louis city.  I am very interested in also comparing urban/rural communities and how they compare in income generation and carbon footprints.   So much to learn!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Parents

I have been thinking about my parents a lot lately. I really miss being closer to them and I regret that my kids don't get to see them more often. We live across the street from Husband's parents and they are very much a part of our lives. I greatly appreciate that, but it makes me sad that my parents aren't. We try to see them as much as possible, but it isn't quite the same. My mother lives six hours away (still in my hometown) and my father will soon be moving from Iowa to retire in South Dakota (where he and his wife grew up). Growing up in Iowa was great, but we were far away from my grandparents in Wyoming and South Dakota. Most of my relatives still live in those states. They are a close-knit group and I always felt like I didn't belong. Going back once a year doesn't quite build the closeness as living there. Facebook has actually been wonderful in reconnecting, but it feels like I am just looking in. Both my grandparents in South Dakota and Wyoming are suffering from a myriad of health issues. I feel pretty helpless being so far away. It does make me realize that my parents, while only 60 and 61, aren't getting any younger. I want my kids to get to know them while they are still young and active. I don't ever remember my grandparents like that. Time is just ticking away so fast and I am afraid that we are missing the best years.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Living Kitchen

I was reading this article at xojane.com. It talks about how the author is fascinated by tiny houses and how they are becoming a bit trendy. I also find them fascinating. What was really interesting, though, was this link to a Living Kitchen. I love the idea. I especially love the closed-loop design. What I can't figure out, is how it could work for a five-member family. Just like how I can't figure out how all five of us could live in a tiny house. The concept really appeals to me, but the logistics have me baffled. I wonder if there is a way to up-scale the kitchen? I imagine, though, that would defeat the purpose.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Negativity

I feel like I am being surrounded by it lately. I am trying not to let it get to me, but my inner introvert keeps saying, "this is why you want to live in solitude, with no one around you." While I can certainly get negative on occasion, I do try to see the positives in life. It just seems like every where I turn, someone has a negative comment and I keep coming off as Sally Sunshine. For instance, my program at SLU is only in its second year. I know that, and it is having growing pains. The program isn't perfect. That doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot of value. I am tired of some of my classmates constant complaining. I am not sure what they envisioned grad school as, but having already gotten an MSW, it has been a pretty typical experience. There is always a disconnect between students and administration. You always want more then the program can give. You have to be your own advocate. This isn't elementary school. I am actually really enjoying the program and making a huge effort to get the most out of it.

My quintet was asked to play in a wedding. Nobody has ever asked us before, so I wasn't sure how the group would feel. The Flute player wrote back right away that she would love to; eventually the others wrote back that it should work. Seems good. I get to practice today and the Flute player is still excited (yay her!!), but the others all have things to say about what an issue it is going to be with all these questions. Questions are good, and I will certainly get the answers, but they just kept going on and on about stuff that might not even be an issue. Then I asked if they would ever be open to playing any other weddings. It was a pretty quick no (except the Flute player). When I got us a performance at my church (and did all the work to make it happen), there was just constant complaining about how far away it is, that there are two services, that they couldn't they sneak out easily, etc. COME ON PEOPLE! Why do we practice every week if you don't ever want to perform? Just like SLU, there is NO perfect situation. People aren't going to come to your house and wait for you to perform when you feel like it.

These are just two examples, but I am ready to find some Yes! people. The "let's give it a try and see how it works" people. Not the constant naysayers and problem finders. It just wears you down. I am not a cheerleader by nature and am tired of doing the "Go Team!" chant.