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An HOC Update

November 17, 2015

Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night. I was really hoping this winter would be more….winter-y. For one reason and one reason only – Caitlin, hailing from the south of Canada (hahahahahaha but it actually exists) had never been fully exposed to a truly Albertan winter before. I rubbed my hands in glee, daydreaming of her horror and despair. Winter is coming, I told her. I told her daily. You won’t believe how insane it is! Us against the elements! I can’t wait! Now it’s the middle of November with no snow to be seen, and to add insult to injury it’s practically sunbathing weather. So much for my gloomy predictions. I really wanted her to suffer! Why is life so unfair?

I’m kidding, of course. I didn’t really want Caitlin to suffer. I just wanted to have a real-life chance to use my maniacal villain laugh. This seemed like the only palpable opportunity. As Anne of Green Gables once said, my life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

Onwards and upwards. I suppose I haven’t been maintaining this blog because…why do we maintain this blog? I don’t know. I’m unsure. Do people really want to know what we’re up to? Do you think we’re really taken notice of like that? Well, maybe it’s so.

Just in case, here’s what we’ve been up to.

We have welcomed a married couple, Greg and Andrea, into the fold. I don’t mind Greg’s taste in music when he’s in the kitchen. As I type this, he is humming serenely along to it. That’s right, Greg. I hear you in there. Nice guy, Greg. Has a ponytail. Likes philosophical discussions. Laughs at my jokes. It was his birthday yesterday. I told him I liked his gravitas, and gave him a birthday cookie. Today he wrote on our facebook wall, “Living with a two year old means I get to celebrate my birthday for the longest amount of time ever. Ember’s wished me a happy birthday three times today. And it’s only 2pm!”

Andrea is a maker of things. She made bubble tea from scratch the other day. She also gets points for laughing at my jokes. Andrea brings the wisdom, which she shares at her own discretion. Some of us have so much wisdom we can fling it around, willy-nilly. She has a giant peep. She’s vegetarian, but not obnoxiously so. She’s not a purist. She is wildly comforting. She cuddles Caitlin sometimes.

David & Ember have also joined us for a short time. David is a hippie. There’s just no way around it. I scoff at him, but I also high-five him, so I feel like it evens out. He makes delicious broccoli leaves with a dehydrator. I told him I wanted a lifetime’s supply for my birthday. My mom says he’s nice. At Thanksgiving he said he was thankful for birds. He’s skinnier and a better cook than me, but I try not to be jealous. It’s unbecoming.

Ember is the house’s only two year old. Not really “the house’s.” David is, after all, her father. I wouldn’t call Ember precocious, but I would say she has an advanced handle on the English vernacular. We are in awe of her. I like to read stories with her. I like to do anything with her. Sometimes we tell stories without books. This is how that goes usually :
Me : Once upon a time, a raccoon and a snake were walking in the woods…what happened next?
Me : That escalated really quickly.
Ember : Do you know about my friend Willy?
Me : Are we…wait, what? Are you talking about the movie Free Willy?
Ember : Yes.

In other news, I have shacked up with my best friend of seventeen (eighteen?) years. We are now residing in what has been dubbed “The Ladycave” by some, and by others “The Living Womb.” I prefer The Ladycave. My mom says that’s “rude,” but she doesn’t know how good she has it. One of my friends suggested we call it “The Vagina Hut.” Steph snores. I wear ear plugs every night. But I don’t mind. I love sharing a room with Steph. Except for this morning, when I had to get dressed in the dark and rammed my knee into my bedside table. I cursed flamboyantly under my breath, and hobbled off to work. Sometimes my exits are dramatic.

There was one evening we had, recently, that perfectly exemplified to me what it’s like to live in community. We started the evening out watching the gymnastics championships with Caitlin, because she is obsessed with that sort of thing. Then I topped the evening off by helping David butcher a giant portion of fresh animal flesh. The bottom line is simple : These are weird activities, and I would not be participating in these weird activities if I did not live in community.

If I did not live in community, I would not welcome conflict. I would avoid it. If I did not live in community, I would not bake cookies around a 2-year-old and 9-year-old while simultaneously singing Disney songs. If I did not live in community, I would not have hard conversations about myself and how I relate to others. If I did not live in community, I would not try jogging for two blocks that one time (thank you Kim), or watch gymnastics, or welcome people who are experiencing homelessness into my home. If I did not live in community, I would not try as hard to love people who are marginalized. I would not welcome them into my home. But I do live in community, and so those things are part of my life. As an introvert, I realize that my trajectory has been wholly unnatural for my personality type. I fell off the beaten path. Sorry, team.

Sometimes, it’s wildly exciting, and I feel exactly, wonderfully like myself. Other times, it does not feel that way. I’m tired, I get angry, I have imperfections that the others here are so well acquainted with that I know I would blush, if blushing was a thing that I did. I used to think it was weak and naïve, to let others see you as you really are.

Now I think that it’s just okay. It’s okay to do that. I think of all these things that I am now doing – watching gymnastics, having fights, listening to Steph snore, sharing life and dinner plates with people who I normally would never have met or cared to know – and I nod, satisfied, even though the alternate universe in which I envision myself might have more naps in it. Or a fireplace. Or a hot tub. Or jellyfish. Alternate universes can have anything in them, okay?  Time travel. My alternate universe definitely has time travel in it. And everyone would be able to do this.


Just saying.

Until next time, I remain,

A loyal servant of the HOC

House Concert!

November 15, 2015

Come one come all!!!!

You could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.

June 23, 2015

Remember when I said I was going to start a series of blog posts with Taylor Swift lyrics as the title? Did you think I was kidding? Well, I wasn’t. An elephant never forgets. I need to be part of her girl gang. SOMEBODY MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

Speaking of girl gangs, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for Matthew. I mean, five girls and one boy. It sounds kind of exciting in principle, you know, like “What a lucky guy! Five beautiful ladies and one dude!” In theory. But when the rubber hits the road, it’s all talk about tampons and the unlivable agony of menstrual cramps and hot doctors and angry hormones and gender inequality and chick flicks. Three of them. In a row. And chocolate and pizza and farting. A lot of farting. Sometimes crying. The other day he said, “I’m learning a lot about girls.” Ten minutes ago he said, “I do not think I will partake in this ladies night that you speak of.” But he basically has no choice, because every night is now ladies night….featuring Matthew.


Matthew : a portrait of affectionate apprehension

Anyway. All this is to say that the six of us went on our first retreat as house fellows. Not my first house retreat by any means, but my first retreat with this particular group of people. One of the things about living in the house is the group dynamic is changing constantly. You re-learn how to be a family over and over again. You take the good parts with the bad. You have a honeymoon period, and you have a I Hate Everyone period. You emerge from all of these periods (and actual periods) and you move on into something deeper. Something that isn’t transient. The bond is steel. You can’t forget. You hold each other up. You annoy each other deeply. You learn to love deeply. Your inside jokes start to get weirder and weirder.

On our retreat, we went to the hot springs. A lot. Would I say too much? No. We also participated in Eric and Janess’s second honeymoon. (Only in the sense that we ran into them at the hot springs. That was as far as that participation went.) We watched four movies. Alessa cut Steph’s hair. Caitlin and Matthew listened to a lot of Taylor Swift. Kate and Jesse facilitated, kindly and awesomely. We went outside. We tried to rent a canoe but it was too expensive. We went to the hot springs again. We did a listening prayer together. It was intense. Matthew enjoyed some opaque clouds. We tried to define community. We talked about the things we do as a house, which are shared practices and which are disciplines. We asked ourselves some questions that maybe we didn’t have the answers to (via Rod). We drew some pictures. Sometimes we cried. We made food for each other. I read a book to Steph. As one does.

In the process of knitting yourself together, sometimes it’s painful. It might take something from you. But we might never have seen the peculiar beauty of this new tapestry if we had held ourselves back. If we had continued to care only for ourselves. There’s a better, more uncomfortable way. And it’s called socialism. (Just kidding, Dad. Just kidding.)

“But they were not really trying to develop a new kind of economy or forment a revolution or create a radical social system designed to disempower the nobility. They were simply doing what seemed natural to them: creating a kind of family.”

Scott Bessenecker, The New Friars


Initial summer update

June 13, 2015

Hello friends its been a little while, here is a bit of a update 


We had the most wonderful three couch surfers come and stay with us this month! They made us the most wonderful dinner!!


Nicole made us the most wonderful signs for our home!!


It was our dear friend Karl’s last day with us – I love this photo!!

Some of our new House Family Photos!! 

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We also had a big cleaning day recently! it was so good!

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Come over and hang out with us some time friends! 


Soul Inspiring Mac & Cheese at The House of Commons

June 13, 2015

Last Thursday night dinner, we had the pleasure of meeting a lovely local blogger who came and blessed us by making a wonderful diner!!!
Check out what she wrote.

Secret Diary MOM

Walking into “The House of Commons”  I felt a sense of peace come over me. I was greeted by Alessa who was in the Garden helping some Bowness residents water their growing food plots. Her energy was peaceful and light. I was shown into the kitchen where we searched for the groceries that were on the list. Not finding exactly what I had planned I started to look around and see what I could improvise with. We chatted as she pulled things from cupboards and asked ” will this work?” I had almost come up with a new plan when Sarah came through the door with her arms full of groceries. All of the groceries that were on the list. Relief came over me, not that I couldn’t have improvised but it’s nice to have the things to make the perfect dish you’ve been dreaming of for days.

Sarah’s energy was bright…

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Fun Times on a Tuesday Night

March 25, 2015

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HOC Christmas Video Blog

December 23, 2014