Things are rolling along quickly now… I’m gaining momentum on this new journey away from Twin Oaks.  My application to grad school is due tomorrow, and I completed it today.  Most of it is done online, and at 2pm this afternoon I clicked the button to send it in.  I mailed my letters of recommendation and my transcript off on Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and now I don’t quite know what to do with my spare time.  I had been filling it with studying for the GRE, then working on my personal statement for the application.  Now… what?  Start packing, I suppose.  There’s always hammocks still to be made, as well.

My family and I are playing an online Scrabble game (see my dad’s comment below), and it’s quite fun!  I get an email whenever someone makes a play, and a special email reminder when it’s my turn.  I’m in the lead, with my brother a close second.  Our parents are eating our dust! (HA!)  For the last many years, Scrabble has been a staple of our family time together at holidays.  I didn’t go home for Christmas this year, and so I got the play-by-play of this year’s game  from my brother.on the phone.  We then mused about the possibilities of playing a long distance game, with our own boards and tiles and emailing each other our respective plays.  In the imagining of it, we realized it would be pretty easy to do online with a simple program, and he set out to find one or create one.  He found a great site with a Scrabble setup, and we’re playing here.  As of now, I’m in the lead!

The New Year’s party here on Saturday was fantastic.  It’s usually the biggest party of the year at Twin Oaks; lots of folks from off the farm come to party with us.  Ex-members, friends of members, friends of friends of friends of members… some folks here don’t like having all of the strangers around, but I enjoy sharing the magic of this place with people who’ve never experienced anything like this before.  We have the party at one of our larger residence buildings (Tupelo, for those who know), which has a giant living room that’s cleared of all its furniture to become the dance floor.  One wall of the living room has a ladder leading up to a loft  at least 12 feet above all the action, and that’s known as the “cuddle loft” during the New Year’s party, complete with comfy mattresses and soft lighting.  Other rooms throughout the building are designated for different activities, including a quiet room for babies and kids to crash and a “Temple of Oracles,” where all sorts of divination tools like tarot and runes are available for consultation.  I happened to be hanging out in the Temple when a guy walked in and asked if anyone there could give him a tarot reading.  No one else volunteered, and so I smiled and offered myself to him.  I usually only do tarot for myself and my close friends; I think this is the first time I’d ever done it with someone I didn’t know.  It turned out to be a powerful spread of cards, and I was pleased with the way I interpreted them with him.  Afterwards, he asked me how long I’d lived at Twin Oaks.  I told him I’d been here about 3 1/2 years, and that I’d be leaving soon to go to grad school.  “Wait a minute,” he said.  “Do you have a blog?”  I was delighted!  He said he had read my posts a few times… ah, serendipity.

One rather frustrating part of the party was that the next day we discovered that several guests’ cars had been broken into overnight.  We operate on relatively high levels of trust around here, and we never lock our car doors.  Guests usually don’t either, and a couple credit cards, cell phones, and about $100 in cash was taken.   Presumably, the person/s who robbed the cars was a guest who came to the party — one of the missing wallets was found later on in the cuddle loft with the money and credit card gone.  So what should we do?  Do we change our culture out of fear, by locking our car doors when we have a party, or do we try even harder (somehow) to cultivate a culture of trust and honesty within our broader network of connections (all those friends of friends of friends…)?

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