14 10 2013

This was written by Cindy with some input  from Martin.

One of the guiding aims of the Transition Movement is to create resilience.  The dictionary defines “resilience” two ways:

1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”

2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

Adding the concept of change, the “back into shape” may well not be the same shape as before the difficulty.

Resilience and us

Why is resilience important? Being resilient means having flexibility, awareness, and the ability to act. If you are flexible and experience stress, you can bear it for a while and then resume your “unstressed” shape when the stress is over. If you are inflexible, stress can break you, maybe even kill you. Read the rest of this entry »


PROGRESS ON CONNECTING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS – increasing (our sense of) community

25 08 2013

(This post was written by both of us)

We recently attended a potluck with Transition Nashville on developing community in neighborhoods.   Mike Hodge of Nashville’s Neighborhood Resource Center gave an interactive program with our group. Mr. Hodge  asked each of us to share with the group our answers to some questions about our neighborhoods and relationships conducive to community.  We both said we had given up on our neighbors, and find our community  in Transition Nashville and other groups of people with whom we share interests.

Cindy:  In my thinking,  my neighborhood is not the same as my community. Some members of my community live within a few miles of me.  I don’t have “friends” on my street. I realized that I have some negative association with every nearby neighbor except the new ones who moved in a year ago whose property adjoins ours along two back property lines. (We can walk a half mile to their house, but have to drive about 5 miles to their house!)

There is the “home-place” next door, where  family members visit and occasionally spend hours doing target practice.  The same family burns their household garbage,  including plastic (we offered to take their plastic garbage to the local trash depot for them – they declined the offer).  There are the neighbors whose cigarette smoke  drifts over to my house;  the neighbor who completely dominates any conversation”;  the neighbors who probably called Codes on us several times; the drug dealing neighbors; the neighbors who let loggers rape their land; the neighbors with the (possibly illegal) C&D landfill; the neighbors with the dogs that bark all night; the neighbor with the “insecurity light” that glares in our eyes and destroys our dark night-time skies.

I realized that I need to make positive connections with our neighbors as best I can. That is up to me.  We have approached some of them and had positive interactions.  There have been a few good conversations over the years. I need to place more emphasis on the positive interactions than the things about the neighbors that annoy me (or worse).

This very moment, I am also dealing with one of our wildlife neighbors, a skunk, who just walked into the basement where I am writing this.  Sharing space with a skunk is definitely a challenge to one’s composure!  Read the rest of this entry »

On The Demolition Of Our Poor Burned House (2013)

31 07 2013

The fire occurred April 16 and 17 2013. The tear down of the damaged roof and walls was completed on Friday July 26, 2013. Why did it take so long? There was shock and adjustment, obtaining rebuild permit and temporary power pole, deciding what to attempt to save, a family wedding to prepare for, work to stabilize portions of the structure to remain, the physical cutting apart of the to be demolished part from the to be saved part, getting heavy equipment, a driver, and dumpsters delivered. All of these  steps took time and normal daily life functions like eating, dish washing, bathing, paying bills, dealing with backs going out of whack and heart beats going out of rhythm to deal with and rain. (Oh yes, I nearly forgot the effort and days to sort through belongs, sorting damaged from good and figuring out where to store   stuff, packing and moving into storage in various old farm out buildings on the property.)

Getting the to this point of  burned structure going away in dumpsters was a milestone. At the time of this writing, there still remains floor over the old basement to be demolished as well as the boards on the front porch.

Here are some photos of before and after and some of the work in progress.

Read the rest of this entry »

Through the “Lens of Endings” – Houses and Relationships and Flaws

20 07 2013

Painful to watch house be torn apart, even though it needs it! Sad to see how the builder of the 1985 addition we are salvaging scrimped on materials as present master carpenter on this project has been  pointing out. (He wanted to tear that part down as well as he saw it as shoddy. To save $1000’s, we  decided to reinforce it and save it. )

I have been reflecting on the wonder, the mystery of so much good living I have done in the past sheltered by a house full of construction mistakes. Part of me is confused.  The confused part believes that nothing good could have happened in surroundings that were so imperfect. (I am noticing that “good”/”bad” is happening where ever one “tunes in” all the time!)  Flaws and imperfection abound, to our way of perceiving. Now I am reminded of the common occurence  among folks struggling in relationship – especially in the “endings” of relationships – doubt that there was “ever really any LOVE” in that relationship. Upon the process of ending  relationships, statements are uttered in thought or out loud resembling ” How could I ever have believed (trusted) _____________ to ____________me. ”

Picture from burned out home of Cindy and Martin. To the right is a room that has been dismantled to the studs, prepping for take down.

Stairs to …… (what do you see?)

I am remembering that I am ending a relationship with my home. Read the rest of this entry »


17 07 2013

Involving help increases uncertainty. Reaching out to my community of friends, family, and members of Transition Nashville and Cumberland Greens has an aspect similar to going fishing.

“Going fishing” can mean both the exciting school carnival game or being out in nature. I don’t know who is going to be available for what. I just keep asking. Also, the tasks that appear the most important when someone arrives may be different from the ones at the “top of the list” when I made the request. I am gradually relaxing and coming to enjoy this relationship with community and surprising timing and manner of task accomplishment.

In demolition and construction, there has to be an specific sequence of some events. Thus, there is some definite goals. People with strategic skills may not come on the day we initially agree upon. But, I direct my efforts at making the necessary preparations for their arrival and work.

Recently, there was some work that needed to be done as preparation that I genuinely thought was beyond my capability to safely perform. I navigate my life with a tricky back. My spine has received multiple injuries during my childhood and young adulthood, leaving me with a 15 pound loading limit and aversion to bounces. You could say my spinal shock absorbers are deficient. Also, my individual spine members will easily go out of alignment, causing pain. This condition has contributed to my learning to be aware of body mechanics.

Fortunately, I have several good chiropractors. And my body does have great resilience. Read the rest of this entry »

Conscious and Unconscious Interdependence and Community

3 07 2013

 American Culture teaches us to be independent. More accurately, to think of ourselves (erroneously) as independent.

Here is a story based on a true account. Some indigenous people thought a white man who landed near their village in an air plane was very, very smart (or a god).  In a conversation with one of the villagers, the white man discovered that the villager had made his own housing, clothing and tools. The villager assumed that the white man had made his air plane and clothing too, and thus was a very great man since he made this fantastic flying machine.

In our culture, we rely on many unseen hands and minds to provide our housing, lighting, clothing, food, entertainment, ease of transportation and communication, etc. Thus, we Americans, thinking we are independent, are not.  We are highly unconscious of all the interdependence that makes our daily activities possible.  (There is also the biological level of unconscious interdependence that supports our bodies.)

In this culture, we begin to think of interdependence when we consider romantic partnerships, partnerships to raise families, maintain homes, or run businesses. We are more likely to think “interdependence” with people whose faces we recognize. I imagine villages and small towns had a sense of interdependence (Is being aware of interdependence necessary for conscious participation in community?) ( I am aware that maybe most people just go about their lives without contemplating the meaning of community, interdependence, independence, etc.)

In our situation (house fire recovery) Martin and I are  very aware of our dependence on community. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Adventure Digging Through Fire Rubble in the Basement

28 06 2013

I love sorting through stuff, finding stuff. Today, with the realization that more debris will falling into the basement soon as the roof and walls are dismantled or smashed down, – and the weather has been dry for a few days,- with rain possible any time, NOW was a good time to put my face in that tight respirator style mask and hook up some bright lights and see what I could find in the basement while piling trash in the wheel barrow. Finding familiar objects feels different when many of them have been lost or severely damaged. It is kind of a thrill, like meeting an old friend or the one person you know in a crowd. If I meet someone from high school that I didn’t particularly like when I was in school, with the changed context of “the one person I know” in a crowd, new town, or some other new situation, suddenly that person is more precious, simply because the context is different.

I have about a 11 pound lifting load due to old injuries to my spine. A favorite tool is an old automobile licence plate. I use one a lot in the garden. It also works well to scrape and scoop the soggy crumbles of drywall, ashes,  rock wool insulation bits, and bits of wood and other debris. I can not overload my body with how much will fit on a license plate! I had a nice fun sense of accomplishment seeing more and more of the floor be visible. I didn’t find much recognisable apart from the general debris components mentioned before. I did find several burned soggy copies by the Barefoot Farmer. These had fallen from the top floor of the house. Martin used to be a vendor at Festivals and had several copies of this book for selling . There also was an old book on sewing from the 1950’s. All these were too far gone for saving. I salvaged some tools, extension cords, light bulbs and metal for the scrap pile.

I also ran into 4 old whiskey bottles. There is another story there. The fella we bought the place from drank and hid the bottles from his wife. Read the rest of this entry »

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