Category Archives: Resound11

#Resound11: I create!

Looking back over the year, one nugget (or turning point, or leveling-up experience) stands out above all others.  This year I hatched a project of my own creation.

My older way of being was to leap onto someone else’s bandwagon, putting my energy into another’s project.  Nothing wrong with this approach, I’ve learned a lot by joining in. I’m thinking of capacity building in a refugee agency (you haven’t had Ethiopian food, until you’ve had home-cooked Ethiopian food). I’m thinking stepping up to be the Gal Friday for Central City Co-op, and being given space to evolve into Partner Development Director, then Operations Manager, then President of the Board of Directors. CCC was the brain-child of Pat Greer and her daughter Jennifer. I can’t express how transformative Pat’s trust and guidance have been in my life.

So this year, I looked at my life, and saw what was missing- an easy way to feed myself well regularly, save money on food and entertainment, and spend good quality time with my friends.  This time, instead of going to Slow Food, or Urban Harvest, or some other excellent group, and trying to graft my want onto one of their programs, this time I created a whole new thing.

It’s a real turning point,

and even better- my friends joined in. Not only did I build muscles that I have often neglected, but I have successfully created more fun, better food, and a deeper connection with people I care about- all the while honoring our economic circumstances. How cool is that?!?

What have you created in 2011? What might you create 2012? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

This post is part of the #Resound11 project. My reflections on the prompts will all be through the lens of food, joy, and community, because, seriously folks, that’s why we are here, to whet Our Community Appetite.

#Resound11: Savor & Enjoy

S is for Supersexy Superhero

photo credit karla k on flickr

What’s your 2011 superpower?

This is a tough one. I’ve only just begun this experiment, so what evidence do I have of SuperPower?

Right, I can simply claim it. Our Community Appetite: uncovering the secret fun and deliciousness of simple foods. Our version of Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth? Working together, and savoring the experience. This is not a space for busting out your foodie ninja moves.

We are interested in building up the larder of our friends, tending the ties of friendship through laughter, delight, and culinary disaster (it wouldn’t be an adventure if everything worked every time, now would it?), and coming to know ourselves as people who are competent  in the kitchen.

I hold that whole foods, prepared simply are good for my taste buds, my belly, and- keeping it real- my bank account- yours too. Come play with us & activate YOUR community super power. (or is that supper power?)

#Resound11: Growth

What good have you done in 2011? Where do you really shine? What have you done that makes you proud of yourself?

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.
William Butler Yeats

This year I have really embraced growth. I started this blog this year and have taken on learning the technical aspects of blogging, writing, and sharing information over the web, especially since my end goal is actions out in the world, in our kitchens.

I stepped outside of my own comfortable circuit, and shared my heartfelt ideas, and hopes for our community with people, not just people but people who I want to think well of me. Being authentic and asking for participation- these simple acts took courage in 2011.

Going back to the beginning of 2011, I was once again being with someone I love while they transitioned, again from cancer. This time it was a peer, instead of my father. This time I had to maintain my business income and stay ‘in the world’ while I supported her, her family, and our mutual friends in their grief. The staying ‘in the world’ meant I also stayed responsible for my nourishment.  I had already fallen into the habit of foraging and running through the drive-thru. I had forgotten my kitchen skills. Cooking for Stelly and her family reminded me of how much I do know. Comparing myself to my foodie friends wasn’t empowering (Foodies: I love what you do! Please keep inviting me to dinner- I just needed to remember that your way is not THE WAY).

I actually know lots of ways to take a few inexpensive ingredients, combine them simply, and enjoy. You probably do too.  Now let’s get together and build each other up. Now let’s make a habit of it.

The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts.
Blaise Pascal

#Resound11: Abdicate

Today’s prompt is about vices, bad habits.

In 2011 I saw the reemergence of one of my worst food habits- abdication of responsibility for feeding myself.  It sounds so silly when I write it out like that, but anticipating my food needs shouldn’t be difficult.

I’ve been on this Earth, able to pay my rent on time, perform routine maintenance on my house or apartment, more than capable of cooking a tasty meal for, well let’s just say, more than twelve years. So how does it occur as a surprise that I am going to be hungry at approximately the same time day after day? How is knowing that my mood, my productivity, my whole outlook will suffer if I schedule appointments and calls back to back for six hours without a break or a plan for lunch.

Thank goodness for El Rey- a local taco chain, Cuban style, using fresh ingredients (heartily vouched for by my favorite nutrition coach). Thank goodness for the Mister’s Monday night pot o’ beans habit and my love of raw carrots, apples, and peanut butter. These supports saved the day more times than I would like to admit.

Now I’m naked before you, my vice showing you my selfishness. Our Community Appetite was created out of my desire to create a structure to feed myself and my relationships.  I don’t like being forgetful, small, or powerless in my food choices. I am inspired by joy, ease, and empowerment. I am pleased to be ending the year on a positive note, with my abdication of responsibility (food sovereignty?) noticed, cataloged, accepted, and occasionally, transformed into joyful responsibility and personal power.

What food vices are you dealing with? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

#Resound11: Percolate

One word to describe 2011- percolate

In September of 2010 I rolled off the board of Central City Co-op.  That was the end of an era in my life. Nine years of direct service, bringing fresh organic vegetables to Houston, in an inclusive cooperative way. Six years of getting to work before dawn a couple days a week to lay it all out literally setting up the market, or crafting the order for the next week’s produce. Three (or is it four?) more years as a founding member of the board of directors. The release was strange, and I knew one thing- I needed a rest from food related projects.

Food is so central to our lives, though. Food is so central to my experience of community. I knew it would come back around. The knowledge swirling in the background, back where the Mister and I plot out our “Lottery Fantasy” life, that includes a commercial grade kitchen for community gatherings and for producing our pickles and condiments to sell to the local market.

In July I began a 10 week leadership course. I needed a community project. I had a great work related idea, that my marketing VIP vetoed (a distraction she said). So what else? What is an area of life that I don’t have full self-expression in? Community. Food. Enjoying food in community.

per·co·late/ˈpərkəˌlāt/

Verb:
  1. (of a liquid or gas) Filter gradually through a porous surface or substance.
  2. (of information or an idea or feeling) Spread gradually through an area or group of people.

The project’s shape is still being imagined. We’ve had some successful gatherings; we’ve had even more conversations about the intersection of fun, food, and togetherness. Surprising discussions of self-reliance at a group level. The idea is percolating, spreading, infecting our community with enthusiasm and possibility.  The final strength and color have not yet been determined, but I hear the bubbling. I smell the aroma, and I know that I am home.