Skip to content

Summer : a pictorial essay

July 16, 2017

Happenings in and around the house

20137827_10154550471627680_1051191787_o

20180274_10154550471637680_2019585841_o

20149013_10154550471792680_1757508074_o

20182399_10154550471662680_576041632_o

20137974_10154550471822680_690480884_o

20137816_10154550471577680_1399170408_o

20133550_10154550471487680_896325407_o

20137985_10154550471852680_92546366_o

20187118_10154550471517680_454414117_o

20182487_10154550471592680_826077834_o

20182479_10154550471652680_843785652_o

20148621_10154550471682680_1902846200_o

20137800_10154550471727680_1510512298_o

20148801_10154550471722680_897683847_o

20187124_10154550471522680_196902585_o

Community Dinners every thursday at 7 pm – Come on by 🙂

5 Things Going On With Us

April 3, 2017

1. Special Guests

 

One of whom is slightly secret, the other who is not. We look forward to the return of Micah, our favourite spoken word poet, in late April/early May.

16473776_777429539488_8817941907280998665_n

Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face. Also, I like your hairs.

 

I especially look forward to it, as I have taken a week off to ferry him around town and assist him administratively. And also to sleep in. (Primarily to sleep in, let’s not kid ourselves). The one bad thing about Micah is he likes to get up at 6 am and sing. Which I am not down with, because Mama needs her 12 hours. Oh, that’s another new thing – I’ve started referring to myself in the third person as “Mama.” Mama’s gotta go to work. Mama’s gotta go to sleep. Mama says no. Etc. But I’m not too alarmed. I just think that’s something all 30 year olds eventually do. Right? Somebody affirm me in this.

 

We are also dismally crushed at the cancellation of Jason Zelling’s advent, but look forward to housing him in future.

11059709_10153345581012680_1176402328352763540_n

 

2. Community Dinners

Yes, these are still happening! Community Dinners are the main focus and “mission” of the house, if you will, and we find there’s no better way to build community with our neighbours than to share our food and couches with them. Our favourite guests are recurring, and it’s comforting to see familiar faces around the table and around the neighbourhood each week as we share a meal and our lives with each other. Our walks in life are vastly different, but despite that, we’ve made room for each other. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing, even if Mama gets a little cranky sometimes. (I can’t stop.) We have saintly Leanne making dinner for us every six weeks, and the eminently generous (and gorgeous) Reize clan making dinner once every four weeks. If you want to get in on this, holla at me!

rehost_2016_9_13_f4b0c47d-7245-4e0c-bb34-89879082370e

In the lives of our guests, I feel I should make special mention of Joanna this month. Here is a nice picture of her.

unspecified

Joanna may just be the most welcoming and cheerful person on the planet. If you met her, you’d know. She started coming to our dinners a couple of years ago, hearing about us on the Wednesday night dinners that a local bownesian church, Shepherd of the Hills, puts on. She has been a regular fixture at our dinners ever since then. This year, she acquired her GED through some hard work and perseverance and is graduating in a couple of weeks. Mama (that’s me) couldn’t be more proud. We are going to see her graduation this evening and as her community, we are thrilled to celebrate her accomplishment with cake (and sparkling apple juice, if Sarah says we can get it). One of the best parts of community dinners is being able to share and participate in milestones like this.

3. We Still Need Roommates For Realsies

Starting in May, we will have five roommates. Five roommates is nice, but you know what’s nicer than five roommates? Eight. Especially if you’re trying to pay the bills and run a community house. If you know of anybody who would be interested in living with us, please tell them to check us out on social media and/or email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com.

4. Already Trying To Forget Winter

2e2f3ea2013517f7b24931a0ae401ffa

I live for summer. Our preemptive summer plans include a block party (Sarah’s dream) and the continuation of our community garden. Would you like to be involved? Call me! Seriously. Call me. I don’t like how Carly Rae Jepsen says “Call me maybe.” She is such a tease!

5. We Fight In The Living Room

We hold all our fights in the living room. We have been learning how to fight this year. (Well, all of the years we learn that, but this year especially.) Last night, as I was strongly and emphatically elucidating all the ways another roommate had wronged me (in front of at least three other roommates) I thought, this is a weird situation. Who else do I know that does this? But that is how intentional community rolls. We learn how to fight and then we fight. In front of our other roommates. And we aren’t good at it. (Although, in the case of this particular roommate, we are sort of good at it because we have been doing it for decades.) My point is, whether we are good at it or not good at it, whether we fear or relish it, we do it anyway, no matter what, because that is what we have committed to do. And then, after we talk it out and the tension slightly dissipates, we turn to our other stunned roommates, laugh awkwardly, and realize we have to go right from fighting and making up, to praying together, to having a business meeting. As my dear friend Nicole says, What a time to be alive.

LOVE, MEGAN
Here is a nice picture of me
Maary-Poppins-mary-poppins-16835831-457-250

Hi people who like to read blogs. It’s me, Matthias.

March 1, 2017

Here comes a small introduction to me, the fourth newest member of The House of Commons (including Willow the puppy), and how I came to live in The House Of Commons.

So I am from this wonderful place called Gronau in Germany. When I was 22 I moved to India for 3 years to live in a community with sick people who were experiencing homelessness.

123

456

My time in India changed my life in many ways. One of the things that changed was that through living in a community with around 100 people, I realized that even though I thought before I would prefer living alone or at least with only very few people, I actually enjoyed living with a lot of people more than I enjoyed living with fewer people. I also think this is not just a personal thing but more a human thing. I would still consider myself introverted but there is something in our design that draws us into community. God is a community, in him/herself and we are made in God’s image. We can also think of us as humanity, as God’s body… Now if we think about a body, we don’t really see all the body cells first, we see the whole thing and it’s all connected.

Anyways… I met Alessa in India who told me about this community that she lived in before she moved to Delhi. Over the next few months,  we realized that we would like to spend more time together than just those few months, and since Alessa had to go back to Calgary, I followed her a year later to Canada. Around that time I was thinking about going to a ministry school and one of Alessa’s friends was leading exactly the kind of school that I was interested in, so I went there and moved into The House of Commons after my school was done.

What else I like… theology, gardening, football (the one where you actually use your feet), board games

Soo that’s maybe enough about me for now.

Also… if you are interested in living with me and my fantastic roommates, please email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com or contact us any other way.

 

 

February : the most horrible month

February 15, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR FINALLY

December 31, 2016

It really seems like everyone hated 2016 with a venemous hostility akin to that of the Gaston-Beast relationship in the 1991 animated cinematic classic Beauty and the Beast.

04

2016. And us.

Are we Gaston or the Beast in this metaphor? Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The important thing to dwell on here was that it wasn’t all bad, and had its highlights just like having

Highlights of HOC 2016

  Kate got pregnant and birthed Sweet Hazel
  Steph lived with us for 8 months
  Sarah started dating Skyler who mowed our lawn and baked us treats
  Kate & Jesse & Maren lived with us
  New friends came over for dinner and became part of our community
  Successful Christmas dinner with lots of presents
  Increased our garden (indoor and out)
  Acquired one helpful german (red-haired variety)
  Paul got married
  We got a piano and Megan started re-taking piano lessons and drove everyone crazy
  Published in an intentional community book
  Jon Bryant fundraiser for Fort Mac
  Clap Your Hands Say Yeah house show
  Megan & Steph’s 30th birthday parties
  One of our guests, Andrew, spent his last day of life with us
  Anytime we had brunch

HONOURARY MENTION : The timely advent of Jason Zelling

Now it is 2017! (In two days.) Upwards and onwards!

We are thinking of starting a newsletter. If you’re interested in being on the list to receive it – but don’t want to post your email in a public place – email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com . We are thinking it’s going to be a collaborative piece, so that you’ll be able to hear from all of us as opposed to hearing from just Megan. Although  hearing from “Just Megan” is, I’m sure, an opportunity many would kill for.

We have two new roommates joining us! If you check out our newly updated About Us page, you’ll be able to read a (very little) bit about them. I don’t need to tell you how giddy with excitement we are that they’ll be joining us. We still have room for two or more roommates, so if you or anyone you know of is interested, please drop us a line at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com.

Here are a few pictures from our respective Christmasses!

15723486_10154990579817625_8292337458606710986_o

I did not know, before i agreed to this, that my uncles were Scrabble high rollers. I lost. Badly.

15780724_10153994343872680_631623045662922483_n

Me and my brothers, who kept saying, “Don’t let Megan take a picture of us, she’s just gonna blog about it!” I was very indignant at these aspersions cast upon my character, but you see they weren’t wrong. That’s why I’m laughing.

img_8266

Thanks to Skyler, this is the year the Mills got a family photo with everyone present

img_6407

So noble. So picturesque. So….willing to have their photos taken. What would that be like, I wonder?

15578203_10157828066805401_6412342985081232498_o

I do not know who these people are. I am going to assume that this is Alessa and (some of) her family at Christmas time. I see Trish in there, so it stands to reason. Also, they all seem very young. Where are your elderlies?

ootp-the-weasley-family-18275118-400-400

I couldn’t find any pictures of Matthias and his family so here is a family photo of the Weasleys. Who are also red-haired, although significantly less German.

EDITOR’S NOTE : Here is a more accurate portrayal of Matthias’s Christmas. Not as magical, but more accurate.

img_6010

Note to Self : Keep “Not as magical, but more accurate” as the title of your memoirs

15676260_10157884163010573_75641143565444478_o

HOC Christmas 2016!!!!

I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky

October 5, 2016

I feel like you haven’t heard from us in a while. Here’s a brief snapshot.

Meeting in ten. I should really start live-tweeting the meetings, especially when they get awkward. I feel like live-tweeting awkward situations/conversations could really blossom into a spiritual gift for me.

Not saying that all meetings are awkward. But we have to have all of our conversations. Just…every conversation. We have to have it. No conversational stone may remain unturned. That’s the blessing and the curse. So it’s a mathematical certainty that it’s going to get awkward or uncomfortable at some point. Get off your ath, let’s do some math.

200

We were in talks to do a video blog, but then mono ruined all of our lives and especially Sarah’s. Desolation threatened to crush our spirits. I alone remained impervious. Thankfully, Sarah has been house-sitting this last month, so luckily we didn’t have to quarantine her. In this case a quarantine, complete with great dane and weirdly disdainful cat, had already been provided. As the days passed, I began to forget her face, her mannerisms. Does Sarah still live here, I wondered. I received a text one night that said,”Will you come over and read to me?” She told me I could let myself in, so I did. The downstairs was awash with empty gatorade bottles and the lingering smell of chicken broth clung to the air. It was sinister, and unsettling. Sarah looked like Voldemort. I crawled into her bed and read to her anyway. (I want to make some joke about how that’s not the first time I’ve gotten into bed with someone who looked like Voldemort, but that would be super inappropriate, so I’m not going to do that.) Then I watched That 70’s Show by myself in the hot tub. I can think of no better way to spend a friday night.

So with Sarah gone, and Steph gone forever (side note : Alessa and I have decided that the moral of that story is that you shouldn’t love your friends too much because they might move away), things are sparse. it’s just Matthias, Alessa and I at the house. We are making it work. We are keeping our spirits up. Matthias does most of the chores. 10/10, would recommend. Community dinners are still happening, through the grace of God and the generosity of Awaken, our church community. But the beacons are lit. Gondor calls for aid. (AKA please send us roommates. Immediately.)

In other news, one of our ex-roommates Paul got married to the lovely Laura. Get a load.

14484808_10157566923235523_1014845863084664999_n

 

14355578_10157452224650553_6103302624740211236_n

STORY TIME!

Micah Bournes first came into our lives as a spoken word poet who would be staying at our house while he performed his wares about town. From the way his dietary needs were communicated to us, I assumed he was an 82 year old white man. I was not correct.

14572384_862891812369_2420627407090216843_n

Most recently, Micah has expanded his repertoire to include “blues musician.” I don’t know how he did it, but he did. His album,  No Ugly Babies came out this week – do yourself a favour and listen to it because it is so darn good it makes me want to high five everyone. For free.

a0599443319_10

Next on the list of talented and delightful humans who have played at our house and released musical projects recently is John Gerrard, AKA Francis Cheer. Here is a picture of him in case you forget what he looks like.

12063305_10156177623630074_7735535746326008014_n

Here is another picture in case you like a more devil-may-care look.

10402417_10155542310340074_2361051993358043708_n

I would describe his sound as…upbeat melancholy folk pop? You can tell why they don’t pay me to write music reviews. In his own words : Lyrically I wanted to be both literal and abstract with varying degrees of honesty and poetic disguise. A lot of the material for this came from my struggles with Schizo-affective disorder whether directly or indirectly. I bring up my diagnosis because I want to help normalize, although I try to make art that stands on it’s own merit without knowing the artist’s context. I found a balance and a positive creative routine a few years ago, and I want people to know that it is possible. I think this lends some of the songs to a content or glad feel. While my painting is more of a reflection of the messy mind, music for me is a calming force, more of an ideal and fabricated space.

ANYWAY I REALLY LIKE IT A LOT GO LISTEN TO IT

Listen to it!

a1279983863_10

Until next time.

As always, Community Dinner every thursday 7 pm if you wanna hang out, eat free food, and enjoy some sullenly muttered sarcasm from me.

open-uri20150608-27674-8axz7n_d1d7c2b1

Captain’s Log

April 17, 2016

One week of the HOC, captured through the twisted psyche of one morally ambiguous Megan J. Biggs. Read at your own peril.

Captain’s Log

April 10, 2016

  • Went out to get ice cream for my sister-wife
  • Why does Maren say “BYE MAYDEN” when I’m not leaving?
  • She also says “HELLO MAYDEN” a lot. It cancels out.
  • Omg. I got the apple tv box working again.
    12963450_10208452593047995_6783685253654939768_n

 

  • Maren’s down for her nap. Watching the second twilight movie (not even at my suggestion). Dag and Andrea will judge us for this. #worthit

April 11, 2016

  • Waiting patiently for Andrea to make me dinner. Tunisian Soup.
  • Query of the day : “Where did all our spoons go?”
  • Steph : I hate it when people say ‘food orgasm’
    Andrea : how about ‘food-related orgasm’?
  • Now somebody is making T-Rex sounds at the dinner table. I’m surrounded by ruffians
  • Guess we’re watching Eclipse tonight. Why is everyone really into Twilight right now
  • Date night’s about to start. Book-making with Andrea.

April 12, 2016 – The Night of the Estrogen Palace

  • Didn’t get home until 7:30. Came home to a living room of powerful women.
  • Sequence of events :
    1.Watched the mindy project
    2. Alessa and Steph squabbled. Sarah got uncomfortable
    3. Kate came home
    4. Listened to a cover of total eclipse of the heart
    5. Watched Eclipse – here is a play-by-play of the commentary

JUST PRETEND YOURE WATCHING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME AND SHUT UP
RUN YOU FOOL
Hahahahahah his hair. So much gel.
It’s T.S. Eliot, you guys. T.S. Eliot.
They can’t while he’s a vampire, he’ll destroy her. He’s too strong.
What are you guys doing over there? She’s recording it.
He’s got a wristband on.
I think he’s ugly.
I think he’s a bum person.
Oh, is this the part where takes his shirt off?
Aw, he writes notes instead of watching her sleep? That’s so cute.
I don’t remember what happened last movie. Somebody pause it and explain the entire plot of the last movie to me.
She can’t talk to her parents once she becomes a vampire. If she keeps a relationship with them it’ll be weird. Because she’ll want to eat them.
Victoria, I love her. Oh wait, it’s a different actress. I hate her.
Why don’t they make people sign CONTRACTS?!
The other one’s hair was better.
They’re seventeen, remember? THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN!
OH NO CHARLIE! Nothing bad happens right? I need to know. I need to know. I need to know.
Wow. They’re big.
Dolphin.

April 13, 2016

  • My turn to cook dinner. Things were simpler in the hunter-gatherer days when I didn’t have to learn how to cook tofu. Why is it so slippery?
  • The late great re-appearance of Dan Zepick. Is it just me or does he have, like, a different character voice for everything he says. He seems to have great expertise on keeping things weird, but in a good way
  • A bromance has just been struck up between Dan and Matthias. Not even Obama and Trudeau will be able to top this one
  • So tired after dinner that I just made puppy dog eyes at Matthias until he volunteered to do the dishes. God bless that man
  • Business Meeting Time. I’m chairing. Some say it’s because I’m the bossiest. Pretty sure that’s not the reason. It might be the reason. Pro Tip : When people are getting off topic I find it’s helpful to yell “MICHAEL BOLTON I’M REALLY GONNA NEED YOU TO FOCUS UP” Seriously though it is like herding cats in here tonight
  • Hot Topic of the Night : Can non-christians become core members of a Christian community? Well tbh I’m not sure why they’d want to, but anyway. Somebody open up a window, it’s getting all controversial up in this joint. At least only one person cried. I’m asking the tough questions! Dag is being too smart again. Somebody needs to take that guy down a few pegs. Come on, Dag. Why can’t you dumb it down for the working man?
  • Stock phrasing : “Nothing has been decided. We’ll table this discussion until a later time.”
  • Jesse has complimented me at least 18 times on the dinner I cooked. It’s nice to be appreciated…vociferously

April 14, 2016

  • Community Dinner tonight. Just got home from work. Want to hide in my room in the fetal position all night. I will now take this hour to pretend that I don’t exist, and then emerge, like a freshly born calf, at precisely 7 pm
  • Apparently everyone is going to a Jordan Klassen concert tonight. On a school night? What fresh hell is this? Which means there will be a mass exodus from the HOC at approximately 8 pm. Thankfully Sarah has volunteered to stay behind to “look after the stragglers” – good thing because we all know I ain’t gonna do it. Being a team player is knowing when to let others take the…offense, insert some more sports terminology here, blah blah blah etc.
  • “Have you ever seen a hug like that before?”
  • Bruce just got out his battery-powered boombox. Now he’s drumming along to it. “Guess who’s debuting at the Ship & Anchor on Saturday?”
  • Other Bruce wants to know what I’m working on. “Is it an email? Will it put a million dollars in my chequing account?” Only time will tell, Bruce.
  • I’m always amazed by how good Sarah is at….talking. Her ability to carry on conversations is endless. This is why I always want to take her with me to social events.
  • “I come for the great company. It’s not good, it’s great.”
  • “That is the best picture I have ever seen in my adult life.”
  • Bruce just asked me if we were trying to kick Sarah out. Hahahha….not on my watch
  • “Is Sarah working tomorrow?”
    “I don’t know, Bruce. You’d better ask her.”
    “Why is it MY JOB to do EVERYTHING?”
  • Everyone’s clearing out already! The Good Lord is smiling down on me!
  • Kate is now delivering a monologue about Wendy’s chicken nuggets

April 15, 2016

  • It’s payday. Thank God. Mental note : Remember to buy Kate oranges
  • House deserted. How peculiar. How divine.
  • Went out for dinner with Dan and Steph. Got reprimanded by a waitress
  • Movie Night With Everyone Who Lives Here : Sisters, with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. It is so weird watching Ike Barinholtz in a role that is not mindy project oriented, but kinda cool too. Aw. He got a ballerina stuck up his bum. Been there! Nope. Haven’t been there.

April 16, 2016

  • Woke up at 11:45. Missed Ember’s birthday party. Balls.
  • Went shopping for “business casual” clothes with Steph. Another sober reminder of how we’re 30 now. Car died. Called Alessa to come get us.
  • Vitamin D Time. We have all congregated in the yard.
  • Cleaned the kitchen and the living room to the musical stylings of….Handel. And Paul Simon. And Taylor Swift. That’s my usual playlist. I kept secretly hoping Mariah Carey’s pop hit “Heartbreaker” would come on, but it never did.
  • Heard the dulcet tones of Maren on the baby monitor. Ran downstairs to get her but Alessa was already on top of it. I was greeted by a most relentless scent. “I did a big poop!” Yes you did, Maren. Yes. You. Did.
  • She’s really good at saying butter now. Butter. Butter. Butter. She can even yell it. BUTTER!
  • She kept telling me about her new bicycle but soon as we got her outside, “I don’t WANT it!” Maren’s catch phrases : “I want it” or “I don’t want it.”
  • I really like that she’s able to communicate her needs and wants now.
  • Kate & Nicole just showed up. Watching Maren eat blueberries.
  • It literally looks like she ruthlessly murdered one giant blueberry
  • Need to find my summer clothes in the storage room but it’s too hard so I’m just going to wait until they come to me.
  • Everyone went to get slurpies. Really hoping they’ll bring me one back.
  • Want Steph to stop calling me bae but not sure how to go about it

Recent Happenings

DSC_0034

Some of us climbed a mountain on Easter Sunday

IMG-20160401-WA0000

Steph started roasting coffee again.

DSC_0076

Ginger Enthusiasts Club

20160403_164955

flower girl

12419147_10153349983647680_1729403359716876567_o

hugs at the park

20160331_203440 (1)

special house guest