Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning about Community

So, I learned a valuable lesson this evening...only I'm not quite sure what it is.

Adam was working late as he tends to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays when there was a knock at my door. It was the daughter of one of the people in my community named (shall we say...)Winny. Now, I have met Winny's father for all of 3 minutes, and all I know of Winny is that Ilya loves her (Ilya tends to love 11 year old girls). Winny confidently walks in and says, "My brother is going to Karate and I want you to watch me."

What an odd request. Did her father send her? Is she acting alone? I was so taken aback that I used my default response and said, "Sure!" Winny's face lit up and she called her father to tell him that she had found someone to watch her so that she didn't have to sit through her brothers boring Karate class. It took several minutes for her father to understand WHO exactly was going to be watching his child (I don't think he even knew my name, and about half way through the conversation they started referring to me as "the person renting Kibby's unit"). Awesome. It feels good to be loved.

About two minutes after she got off the phone with her dad, there was another knock at my door. This time it was Winny's best friend and fellow community member, (shall we say...)Sky. Sky and Winny made themselves at home. Rearranging my furniture to generally suit their needs (they were making Hawaii) and playing with Ilya.

I was both fascinated and appalled by the lack of pretense that these girls displayed. They had inturrupted me in the middle of dinner to invite themselves over, asked to be fed (even asked me to make them cookies - for the plane trip to Hawaii), made a mess of my home, then after an hour, left. I mean, how cool would it be if we all just did that? Asked for what we wanted. All the time. Regardless of all the manners we've been taught. What would our world be like if we didn't worry what people thought about us. If we did what we wanted and were true to ourselves, living in the moment. All day long.

Half way through the "playdate?" I was thinking that I needed to make sure that set up limits for the future, but by the end of the evening, I realized that I really enjoyed their presence. Ilya had a blast, and I think I learned something much more important than how to say "no".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dinner Party

I'm throwing a dinner party tonight for the first time in what seams like ages, and I think I might be going a bit overboard. But, seriously, what is the fun of life if you don't go a bit overboard now and again (and begin a sentence with the word "but").

In danger of ruining the surprise for my wonderful friends that are coming over, I will be turning this blog into a cooking blog, just for today. And maybe some other time I decide to cook like this. (Ack! Started a sentence with the word "and," what is this world coming to)?

It feels a little weird writing this in present tense as I will be updating throughout the day, making this (as in now) past tense and the completed dinner present tense. Oh blogging! How you baffle my mind!

I will be using recipes from the vegan cookbook, "The Conscious Cook" by Tal Ronnen, which is my absolute favorite vegan cookbook ever. Out of respect for the author, I will not be posting the recipes, but I will say, if you ever thought vegan food was bland and boring, you should really try some of these recipes. Delicious!!

Starter (not to be confused with the appetizer): Crackers and cheese. I know what you are thinking. Bland. But no! (I did it again - began a sentence with "but" - I give up). This cheese is from the distant land of Wisconsin where I had the honor of witnessing my dear friends get married over the weekend. The cheese was a wedding favor, of sorts, so really, cheese and crackers are exciting and authentic.

Soup: Celery Root soup with Apple

I saved this dish for last as it didn't require any chilling, cooling, curdling or other complicated, time-consuming thing. I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. Isn't it pretty?This is the way it was supposed to look (picture taken from the cookbook):

Main Dish: Pepper Crusted Portabello Mushroom in a tomato hollandaise sauce accompanied by mashed potatoes

Meat and potatoes. Simple and delicious. Well..vegan meat (aka mushroom) and potatoes with cashew nut cream rather than real cream...but essentially its the same thing. I was impressed with the flavor of the mushrooms and the creaminess of the potatoes.Here is what it is supposed to look like (picture taken from the cookbook):

Desert: Banana Pecan Cheesecake with a Rum Sauce

I must say, this cookbook is delicious, but it is NOT simple. Actually, I have no one to blame but myself as I didn't read over the recipes until 2pm (considering dinner is at 8, I figured I had plenty of time). I knew I was in trouble when the cheesecake demanded at LEAST 4 hours. EEK! So, I started here. I chose the cheesecake mostly because who makes a VEGAN cheesecake? How cool is that? And I had a lot of bananas that needed to be made into something. Didn't quite turn out like the pictures, but it was good none the less.

Can I just say that maple syrup, butter, and rum is THE BEST COMBINATION IN THE WORLD.

Again, what it is supposed to look like (picture taken from cookbook):
Post Dinner: Had a blast catching up with friends. Really missed "dinner club" that I did in college where a group of me and my friends would get together every week and cook for each other. I want to do that again...Any takers? Seriously.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding Balance

I find myself struggling with this concept of community.

When I think of community, I think of all the good things: shared meals, friends for Ilya, support, connection, shared ideals, community events...There is, unfortunatly, another side of community that I had a vague concept of before, but which now is becoming a very solid reality. Everyone is in everyone business ALL THE TIME! I am the queen of finding judgement in words where none was intended, so take this with a grain of salt, but it seams to me that everyone has an opinion of everything that I am doing, from how I raise my daughter to Adam working in the common house. I am trying to step back and really hear what people are saying when they make these comments, but I admit - I feel devastated every time I hear something. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I had someone to bounce my thoughts off of, but Adam is gone all the time. He works until 6 everyday then goes off to teach Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm going out of my mind a little. I'm surrounded by people, but I still feel totally alone.

Don't take anything I say right now too seriously. I'm just feeling down. On the upside, tomorrow, I get to go watch my very best friend get married. I miss her so much it hurts, and I'm so excited for her wedding. I just wish she were moving to Seattle afterward.

I think that eventually I will be stronger and learn so much from community living, but it is hard right now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A New Bed

There is something really wonderful about a new bed. Maybe its just me, but bed is my safe place. It is where I relax and let go of worry. I want it to envelope me and hold me close. Sooth my soul.

I have been lacking this very key component of my life for the last 10 months. This is not to say that I didn't have a bed to sleep on, because I did. I was generously offered beds by so many people and they were comfortable...but they weren't mine. My bed. Waiting just for me.

It arrived today. It is waiting for me upstairs. I think a glass of wine. A good book. And an evening in bed sounds just about perfect right now.