Katie came to Twin Oaks with a common enough name. She had a naming party and we came up with Charlie, which she liked and embraced. But tragically and slightly predictably, her name was quite close to another members name and they were unhappy about the new choice.
Charlie is an accommodating type of person. She did not want an existing member to be inconvenienced by her choice. She switched her name back. Only it was too late. Oh most people stopped calling her Charlie, but not all of them back to Katie. And her name dropped into a free fall. Some members started calling her Olive. Others Cabbage. I joined a few members in calling her Hazel, which had been a naming party second choice. Her close friend 3 decided to restart calling her Quigley. Lori prefers Bamboo.
I talked with Hazel today. She does not want to inconvenience the community by changing her name too quickly. She thinks in a few weeks or perhaps months might take on Hazel, but she might be called all manner of things, for the indefinite future.
If you are interested in new communities starting near NYC or DC then please come to Prospect Park in Brooklyn today (May 11) at 1 PM. Inside this huge park we will be at the Picnic House, look for the balloons. Here is the program and here is the Facebook RSVP. This event is a potluck, so please do bring food.
As a special treat after the event around 5 PM Maya Solovey will sing and play music for about an hour. She is an amazing local performer.
The Point A project is roaring along. There are new economic engines in renewable energy. A workers coop in NYC is seriously talking about becoming income sharing and joining the FEC. And the Point A crew in DC found a very interesting piece of “off market” land in the city, which we just might get donated.
All this and more today in Brooklyn. If you can’t make it you can get more information by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Willow had been talking about dumpster diving with Feonix for a couple of days leading up to the Tarrytown NY craft fair and he was excited. There was this slightly odd moment of role reversal in which I had blacked out and sometime after midnight Willow woke me and said “Are you ready to go dumpster diving now?” And while some part of my exhausted body wanted to decline, instead I was propelled by my desire to be a yes for my son. We jumped in the van and headed to White Plains where a Dunkin Donuts of known riches was to be found.
We pull in realize that we have neglected flashlights and Feonix uses her phones app to light the way. And we have donuts. The world is a better place and Willow is pleased. Later we would get a flashlight app for my phone, but even with the light the Trader Joes dumpster was being staffed way late in the night (actually crazy early in the morning) and the Whole Foods compacter revealed nothing that could be salvaged. As my son snuck from the security cameras in the parking lot I wondered about this aspect of his home schooling.
It is one of my favorite annual rituals, Feonix and Willow and Corb and Hawina and I doing the Tarrytown fair. In part because Feonix always has the new cool thing or three for us to experience. This time it was Bee and PuppyCat. Which has an inspired scene where Bee is in a temp agency and the cruel recruiter turns away from her to take a phone call. When he turns back his bowl of sweets is emptied and Bee says “You took too long. Now your Candy’s gone. That’s what happened. Kapow.” and she disappears thru the door.
This was one of our regular chants as we took the long drive down the New Jersey Turnpike after the fair. I took a five hour energy drink, Feonix was running her normal night owl energy and Willow was doing the sugar rush connected with low level donut poisoning. We all sang loudly and (at least myself) off key to Mackelmore’s Can’t Hold US on the radio at absurd o’clock somewhere outside Philly.
We arrive at the Keep late, but Willow and I are the last to go to bed. It may well qualify me again for the cover of Negligent Parenting Magazine, but I would not have it another way.
[Willow has approved this post]
I like writing about the contrast between communities, because it is illustrative of the choices we make and the different cultures we craft. It has taken me over a year to write about this particular topic, because it was a secret for most of that time.
For a number of good reasons and some poor ones many communities place restrictions on the numbers of some types of pets which can be in residence. Twin Oaks for example, limits the number of dogs to 4 and the number of cats to 10. Dogs pack and thus howl at night, the number 4 was believed to be below the packing threshold (which it seems to be). Cats have a high impact on local wildlife, birds, mice, moles etc. In the egalitarian communities approved pets are budgeted for. And while every pet must have a sponsor who is responsible for their welfare, the vet, food and other costs are paid for collectively.
One downside is that many people have allergies and try as we might, pets get into public spaces and make the lives of people who can’t share spaces with them difficult. I am lucky and don’t have pet allergies, but i am highly aware of how we collectively basically discriminate against people with pet allergies in favor of the pets of some members.
One day when i was in the smoke shack at Acorn a grey cat strolled in who clearly felt like this space was theirs. The cat was aptly named Fight Club, because it was a stray which had been adopted by some of the members and it was above the current cat limit. So we just did not talk about it.
The idea that a public cat could be a secret intrigued me. I watched with interest as the Fight Club story unfolded. The advocates for the cat were quick to grab the first cat spot which opened up for Fight Club when another cat departed when its owner moved on from community. And despite the fact that the cat was then (and now) legitimate we kept the name. Good names are precious and this one had a lovely story to it as well.
Late last year, Acorn spawned Sapling. At first it was a residence of Acorn which was not on the main campus. But we knew it was quite likely to become its own community, since that is what most of the Spalingers wanted. We agreed on a number of rules in the beginning to make it easier to sell the property in the event that the experiment did not work out. One of these rules was “no pets”. Sapling is now its own independent community (and there is a guest post in the offing describing it). But a few months back when i came to visit Sapling a dog ran out and started barking at me. When i asked what the dog’s name was i was told simply “That is Fight Club”.
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]