Saturday, July 18, 2009

ask and....

one of my favorite landmark distinctions is "making powerful requests." Today, sky and i were tabling for Urban Evolution (yes, its starting to be like THAT) at a Meet Your Neighborhood event in Lee park. Towards the end of the event, the main organizer came over and urged us to go up to the main tent. A few city workers, from neighborhood development and public utilities were there answering questions from the people.

we ran over. The audience questions were on the wane, so i jumped in right away. First, i asked about edible landscaping on city land, including parks. i got a name in parks and rec--the dude to follow up with. then i asked about grey water, and got a muddled answer about rainwater for landscaping. sky took the mic then, and asked about zoning and the 4-unrelated-person maximum occupancy regulation. nothing new there; preventing slumlords, accurately judging utility use etc.

i sat in my seat, very present to last nights dream in which i was invited to join boulder, colorado's city council. these people's JOB is to serve us, to make cville a better place to live. so much of our work is about neighborhood development. this was an amazing opportunity, what else could i ask for? i've been planning a ridge st. block party for august--a harvest fest, cookout, neighborhood story sharing party in the street. so far, the various permits we'll need total nearly $300. i've been feeling pretty stumped about where that money will come from--this is not a wealthy neighborhood. folks have been happy to bring a dish to share, or share stories. they're psyched to have a party in the neighborhood. i went back and forth in my head "ask, no i can't ask, just ask! no, i can't." it never hurts to ask, i decided. so. i made my powerful request, bumbling a bit and ending with the possibility for the event; a chance for the community to really come together and connect, have a good time and build community. pause. winning smile. the three panel folks silently stared at me. pregnant pause.

then, the moderator approached me and said quietly, "sometimes we can make an exception. give me a call" and handed me his card. i looked at it, and it said "Maurice Jones, Assistant City Manager."


Thursday, July 16, 2009

the power of doing

its amazing how impossible and overwhelming a project can feel when i'm doing NOTHING to move it forward. and, how ease-ful, inspiring and energizing it is when i am doing stuff--even tiny things, to move it forward.

my self expression and leadership program project (well, one of them) is a ridge street neighborhood block party/cookout. its been evolving slowly, and i'm getting more excited about it. tonight i talked to the remaining neighbors on the portion of street that we want to shut down for the party. one lady had refused to open her door last night, shouting through the glass "we don't open our doors after dark!!" today, she was outside. i chatted with her and she begrudgingly consented to the block party on her street, as long as she could get her car in and out. then she blew my mind by offering to make a dish, even if she couldn't make it!

at the next house, i knocked right in the middle of the bath hour. a twin boy and girl (totally adorable) took turns peeping around the corner and shouting for help as i spoke with their mother. she said that her grandfather had built the house for his wife and had owned all the land around. he sold it off bit by bit.

this neighborhood is rich with stories, from folks who have lived here 20, 30, 50 years. a new piece of the project is starting to emerge as i meet more of the people who live in this neighborhood. I want to create an oral history, a collection of stories. and have an opportunity for folks to share their stories with fellow ridge st. neighbors at our august gathering.

my tendency is for projects to get bigger in my mind, and then overwhelm me into paralysis. the key, i'm learning, is to continue to create opportunities for leadership for OTHER people, expanding the pool of leaders, and thus, what is possible.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

treats of the day

1. between bikerideberrypicking and afternoon garden shift, heat of the day: iced coffee with maple syrup and soymilk.

2. staking up the peppers. hot, sweaty, dirty. time for a break: wineberries with coconut milk ice cream, hazelnut milk, crumbled cookie.

3. last treat of the night, before lasts tasks, after exhilarating mini-canvass of raymond st. neighbors for the ridge st. block party: wineberries w/soymilk and maple syrup.

Monday, July 13, 2009

renewed committment to blogging, and bday fest!

ok, i've said this before but.........i so enjoy blogs when the blogger posts regularly! so i am renewing my dedication to regular blogging.

feel free to hold me to that........


i haven't thrown myself a birthday for quite a few years. and the last time i did, i ended up running away and hiding due to a severe case of overwhelm/meltdown.

this year, i'm breaking through the resistance, and throwing myself a big 'ol bash. midsummer nights dream theme, dance party, fruit, flowers...2 days after the full moon, 2 days before my real birthday. feels fitting as i turn the big 3-0!

Here is an excerpt about another midsummer nights dream party, from which i take inspiration.

From The Hanged Man by Francesca Lia Block

We decide to have a Midsummer Night's Dream full-moon party. My mother brings out all her white tulle and we hang it in the trees. We cut out paper stars and glue blue and pink glitter onto them and scatter them in the tulle canopies among white Christmas lights. We buy watermelons, pineapples, cantaloupes, honeydew, strawberries and cut them up and put them on platters and my mother makes her punch. It is a citrus-greenish-yellow color and it smokes. We call it the witch brew and everyone is drinking and dancing around in their white shirts and dresses and lace and masks and glittery scarves.