Last night Jesse and I attended the opening night of the Sacramento River Cats, our local baseball team. The game went to 10 innings and was very exciting, but that is not the main reason that we had a good time. Simply put, the River Cats are a minor league team, and going to a game seems more like a community event than anything else. The $14 grass seat tickets meant that we saw tons of families, as well as young excited groups of teens and college students. Even with the drinking students, the atmosphere was incredibly family friendly, with groups of small children playing duck duck goose, rolling down the grassy hill, and dancing with their mothers and fathers for a shot at making it on the big screen.
It made me think back to when I was younger, and block parties were a thing. My little suburb was an incredibly close knit community. Certain families had holiday parties every year, people lent each other a cup of sugar or an egg, and while my dad knocked icicles off peoples gutters in the winter, someone else would snow blow our front walk. I never really questioned this as outside the norm until I left my hometown and moved first to PA, then to OR, then to CA.
Everywhere else, I feel like asking how someone is doing is either considered extremely stalker-ish, or middle aged men think I’m hitting on them and invite me to their condo in Florida. I do not know my neighbors, nor have my neighbors made any effort to get to know me. This is sad not only from a social standpoint, but from an environmental standpoint. As recently pointed out by the book I’m reading Simple Prosperity, community groups are the groups responsible for community based activism. Good communities have volunteer networks, public parks, and active civic engagement. You don’t have any of this when no one knows their neighbors, or takes pride in their neighborhood. Other benefits to being neighborly include free help, safety, and very importantly, happiness.
But how does one start to turn a neighborhood into a community? I have recently found the website and app, nextdoor and I’m super excited about it! On nextdoor you have to verify your address before you can post, but after that all your posts go out to your local community. There is a lot of free stuff in my neighborhood, from compost to ovens. A lot of people are having potlucks, asking for babysitters, and discussing issues like safety and our local parks. I’m already thinking of having another pizza party or potluck, this time with the neighbors so we can all get to know each other. I had my first introduction and RSVP within minutes from a nice married couple who have been in the neighborhood for 6 years. They have a cute puppy! I like puppies, and I need to cultivate a few sources to provide me with dry leaves for composting. Therefore, I think this nextdoor thing is going to be wonderful.
This week in updates: Jesse’s Last Week
So this is Jesse’s last week. It seems incredible that all of this time has gone by so fast. While I do look forward to getting more sleep (Jesse is much more exciting than I am, and likes to go to all sorts of activities like baseball games… the River Cats, case and point…), I find it is going to seem quite empty in my little apartment without him. In fact, my first night on days going to bed early before he did, I found it next to impossible to fall asleep in my bed solo. Who am I going to walk to the co-op with, or spoon with and watch movies on Friday night? Who is going to wake me up from my tired haze when I stumble back from work, full of bike gadget finds to talk about on kickstarter ? I’ve had a love hate relationship with time all week. Each day brings me closer to the weekend (yay!) but close and closer to the time on Monday morning where I will have to say goodbye.
I guess this is just a little note to those of you who can keep your loved ones near and dear. It is the little things that mean the most, from grocery shopping to having dinner together, from saying goodbye in the morning to knowing they will be there when you get home. Jesse and I talk about this blessing and curse of being in a long distance relationship for the majority of the time we have been together. Rarely do we get to come home to each other or do normal couple every day innocuous things. Thus, perhaps each moment is special, so we can better compare our memories of a date night to memories of a walk around the block together. When we think about our time together, what do we value the most? Those little every day things. The small moments. Being able to say I love you face to face, not over the phone. By being long distance we have been made to recognize the incredible gift it is to see the person you care about on a day to day basis.
Long story short, make sure you treasure those simple, every day gifts. They may seem small, but I think being able to have them is the greatest gift of all.
The Recipe: Chocolate Breakfast Oatmeal
This is a really simple recipe, but perfect for all your chocolate cravings. It is filling, sweet, and delicious. Whenever I am craving chocolate, I find this much more healthy and effective than wolfing down a chocolate bar. That’s probably because it keeps all the real chocolate goodness, without the fillers found in most chocolate desserts.
1 heaping tablespoon chocolate baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter (optional)