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Old 03-19-2009, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,973,893 times
Reputation: 15649

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jboggio View Post
Wisteria, you have hit the nail solidly on the head. And some of us are even older but still healthy, active individuals with lots of life ahead.

Great things begin with a small core group of doers who can build on each other's ideas, and make their weight felt. There are many possibilities for those of us in the upper age group if we pool ideas, make a plan then follow that plan.

You're right -- there are millions of us out there, invisible, fragmented, isolated, thrashing around trying to find a way to survive. It angers me that we should be so overlooked by our society. Most of us have worked hard to have what little we do and now we tend to be brushed aside as inconsequential in the economic scheme of things. And yet, what power we could exert if we were more visible.

I would be very interested in attending a retreat where we could share ideas and perhaps even develop a plan.

Ideas for a time and location?

Jean, Somewhere in Maine
Ditto! And we need more solid reports from those who have gone to visit places. Maybe we could all come up with a list of 10 MUST-HAVES in a place, and every time one of us takes a research trip, we could rate those 10 things from 1 to 5...this idea certainly would help me!---NEG

 
Old 03-19-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,050,963 times
Reputation: 2141
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmhere View Post
If you'd like to know more about the latest energy efficient, sustainable, green small house design being made today, check out the web site of the Small House Society. There is a page that has links to individually designed and manufactured design homes of various sizes, plus floor plans and names of equipment designed specifically for smaller homes. I could spend hours looking through all the links to see all the innovation! I like the modulars the best because I can start small. If I find I need more room, it's not hard to ad on another module connected to the first one.
I think I want a small house, not a miniature one. Small compared to a McMansion. Modest. I think my garden shed is bigger than those houses. I also would prefer not to build new but reuse an existing house, preferably a well built and cute one with good sun exposure in the yard for my garden.

Tho, I wonder how much one of those weighs? It would be a cute thing to tow for temporary life on the road.

What really turns me off on these sorts of artificial communities is the houses look all alike and are absurdly expensive. They take an idea for a subdivision, wrap it in nice words like community, town centers, green building, small houses that they then proceed to price at twice the going price for a house that size plus slap on large rental fees (normally called homeowners association fees). What I see is not innovative living design so much as a big money maker for the developer and the same sorts of cookie cutter community as Levittown. No thanks.

What attracts me to older communities is the houses are individual and have had real people living in them, making real life needed changes. It isn't some developer's idea of what people want. Plus how green is it really to expend all the resources to build more and more new houses when there are so many empty existing houses?

Last edited by Tesaje; 03-19-2009 at 08:19 AM..
 
Old 03-19-2009, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,420 times
Reputation: 52
Talking My dream project

Quote:
Originally Posted by miruca View Post
I love the idea of cohousing (but not the angst of constant processing!). I looked at one in Vermont (in middle of Burlington) - it was sooo expensive for such a small small space that was not really well laid out. The units reminded me of the wwII housing projects.
I'd like to work up a model of how a small house community (whether it's cohousing or not) would look. I'm not an architect (nor do I play one on TV), but I think people need a more tangible example of what it would look like before they decide if it's something they would like.

IMHO bunching small houses around shared services/equipment is essential. It's nice to have your own washer and dryer, but it takes up A LOT of room in a house. Space for kitchen counters is severely restricted in a very small house. Having access to a larger kitchen and dining area would be wonderful for small gatherings of friends which, otherwise, would need to be held outside of my small house because of space constraints. I don't travel very much. When I do travel, I need to find very trustworthy and responsible people to care for my two prescious, indoor-only cats. It's much easier to have a neighbor help out, then swap services. I love the idea of sharing a common shop space and tools, even giving or getting lessons. Some places have a room for yoga or related physical activities. Most shared facilities also contain guest quarters if you have overnight visitors.

My house would become more economical and simpler if I didn't have to make room for all these things within it.

So many of the traditional cohousing projects insist that shared walls are the only way to go for energy savings and reduction of materials. I like the idea of letting each person construct their own small house according to their own financial capabilities. I could be REALLY wrong about this, but I think the homes would be less expensive if built separately. Sticking to an upper limit for expenses doesn't seem to be a priority in most cohousing projects. I see a lot of people drop out of projects as the projected costs go beyond their means. But then there is separate plumbing and electricity, etc. so I'm not sure if it's cheaper, but it certainly is more under an individual's control. I've seen several beautiful small homes that were built entirely with reclaimed or reused materials. You'd never suspect that by looking at the home.

I like participating in the Small House Society mailing list because there's a lot of members who either design their own or have worked with developers who know what they are doing to make a small house efficient and comfortable.

Cheers!
Marganne
 
Old 03-19-2009, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,420 times
Reputation: 52
Lightbulb Bonding to support each other

Quote:
Originally Posted by jboggio View Post
Wisteria, you have hit the nail solidly on the head. And some of us are even older but still healthy, active individuals with lots of life ahead. [snip] there are millions of us out there, invisible, fragmented, isolated, thrashing around trying to find a way to survive. It angers me that we should be so overlooked by our society. Most of us have worked hard to have what little we do and now we tend to be brushed aside as inconsequential in the economic scheme of things. And yet, what power we could exert if we were more visible.
I know there are a lot of us boomers in our 50s or early 60s who are a bit at odds because they don't have a partner or lots of family available to lend support. My frustration is finding the best way to connect with people like this. I'd love to live in a community of women all in this age range where we'd hopefully help each other as we get older and enjoy the rest of our lives. There's a BIG bias against single people in our society, I've found.

AARPs 50+ is the closest I've come to finding a source for women like us, but it is predominently married couples, I think. And most people don't think about checking out AARP when they turn 50.

Cheers!
Marganne
 
Old 03-19-2009, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,918 posts, read 6,240,768 times
Reputation: 2646
Hi Everyone,

Just checking in! Lots of stuff going on!

I like Newenglandgirl's idea of whittling down places for a retreat. I did post that link of retreat places, but I think that just a nice, inexpensive hotel for a few days could serve the same purpose. We could have a hotel in a city that many of us would be interested in actually searching out -- kill two birds with one stone.

I think we need to put our preferences in terms of living conditions/weather first, though. I have noticed a theme throughout that many people do not want cold and humidity. (I concur.) That narrows down some places.

For me, as you know, I prefer the southwest or California. I lived in Seattle, and Oregon/Washington would really propel my SAD to levels I don't want to endure.

I think we also need to keep in mind cost of living in whichever place we choose to gather -- what's the point of meeting in, say, Santa Barbara, if we can't live there?

So, I'll toss out a few ideas here, as you know they are ones I've talked about before.

Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Chico, Paradise, Iowa City (I know, I know -- a lot of snow, but I'm a little curious), Asheville (although I do know someone who lives there and is from the northeast originally and still struggles with some of the racism there -- her daughter is bi-racial), Colorado -- Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins (Boulder is too expensive now). For me, the south and the Bible Belt are not places I would move to (which, unfortunately, cuts out a huge chunk of the U.S.). I am not "religious," but "spiritual." Unless, of course, there is some uniquely liberal and tolerant enclave someplace in the south that I am unaware of.

I'm sure I'll think of other places later, but that's a beginning. Maybe one place will continuously pop up.

And, think of national magazines that we writers can collaborate on an article (or I'll just take it on, if no one wants to collaborate) to which we can submit articles. I do have the new edition of "The Writer's Market" at home.

Any feedback yet, Newenglandgirl, from Suze? I think we need to bombard her from all of us individually -- the "broken record routine," where we keep saying it over and over and over again until she thinks, "Gee, this sounds so familiar, maybe I should look into this!"

I also think Anomoly's idea of speaking on the phone once in a while is good. Maybe the retreat will make us more comfortable in doing that!

I will check back later....I'm still the working fool, remember!
 
Old 03-19-2009, 12:00 PM
Status: "Could be worse" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
510 posts, read 1,308,971 times
Reputation: 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by MN2CO View Post
Anomoly - I knew there was a reason I missed you!! I couldn't agree more with everything you said. I also admire close women groups (without the gossip, cattin, etc...) When I hear women who claim to be good friends rip each other apart the minute one leaves I bow out of their "close" friendship. But I know it's possible because I've had those special friends. BUT, Anomoly, dear, NO TOILET BOWL RACING!!!!!!
Ok, no toilet bowl races, although I like the costumes...
Yeah, I think most of here, are on this forum, because we are so fiercely independent, yet enjoy the interaction here.
Again, anyone wanting to move up a notch to phone calls, let me know. I certainly feel like Wisteria and I have become more connected because of our meetup, and phone calls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jboggio View Post
Wisteria, you have hit the nail solidly on the head. And some of us are even older but still healthy, active individuals with lots of life ahead.

Great things begin with a small core group of doers who can build on each other's ideas, and make their weight felt. There are many possibilities for those of us in the upper age group if we pool ideas, make a plan then follow that plan.

You're right -- there are millions of us out there, invisible, fragmented, isolated, thrashing around trying to find a way to survive. It angers me that we should be so overlooked by our society. Most of us have worked hard to have what little we do and now we tend to be brushed aside as inconsequential in the economic scheme of things. And yet, what power we could exert if we were more visible.

I would be very interested in attending a retreat where we could share ideas and perhaps even develop a plan.

Ideas for a time and location?

Jean, Somewhere in Maine
Here we are again, back to the interest in a retreat! Yayyy! I'll speak for Wisteria (not sure if you were responding to her post or mine, but I know she's open to a gathering at her place, BUT now that it's on the market for sale, that might not be an option--unless we plan quick, which doesn't seem to be the pace of this group. I've kind of forgotten each individual situation, but if someone has a suggestion for a place to meet for a retreat, I now have time and interest in coordinating the details of a gathering!
 
Old 03-19-2009, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA
84 posts, read 191,420 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
I think I want a small house, not a miniature one. Small compared to a McMansion. Modest. I think my garden shed is bigger than those houses. I also would prefer not to build new but reuse an existing house, preferably a well built and cute one with good sun exposure in the yard for my garden.

Tho, I wonder how much one of those weighs? It would be a cute thing to tow for temporary life on the road.

What really turns me off on these sorts of artificial communities is the houses look all alike and are absurdly expensive. They take an idea for a subdivision, wrap it in nice words like community, town centers, green building, small houses that they then proceed to price at twice the going price for a house that size plus slap on large rental fees (normally called homeowners association fees). What I see is not innovative living design so much as a big money maker for the developer and the same sorts of cookie cutter community as Levittown. No thanks.

What attracts me to older communities is the houses are individual and have had real people living in them, making real life needed changes. It isn't some developer's idea of what people want. Plus how green is it really to expend all the resources to build more and more new houses when there are so many empty existing houses?
Perhaps you saw only the smaller, 150 square foot houses? My preference leans to 800 to 1,000 square feet. Many of the very small homes actually are built on a towing bar and are meant for traveling. Please keep in mind that seeing a handful of cohousing projects with expensive units doesn't mean that all of them are that way. Would be a shame to reject a great concept because you've only seen poor examples. One of the reasons I've broken away from cohousing is because many people have the means to pay $250,000 on up, but I can't do that. The cohousing movement currently is a bit stuck on expensive cookie-cutter homes, IMHO.

The biggest problem I have with existing homes is they often need a lot of big repairs or remodels. They aren't energy efficient. I can't afford to purchase one of these older homes, then have enough money to pay for repairs. Living on a fixed income, I know if a big repair popped up, I couldn't afford to fix it. That happens more often with older homes, unless you have the resources to fix things when you move in.

If/when I buy/build a small house, I'll still have a lot of money left over to make it more comfortable or perhaps buy those solar panels to cut down on use of electricity.

(Gee! have I thought a lot about this or what? LOL)

Cheers!
Marganne
 
Old 03-19-2009, 12:17 PM
Status: "Could be worse" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
510 posts, read 1,308,971 times
Reputation: 452
Default Retreat Planning

Turning the idea of a retreat into an actual retreat takes planning, so here's the 1st order of business to think about:

1. Dates: What's the earliest you could realistically attend a gathering?
2. Location: How far could, and would, you realistically travel, by car, plane, bus, etc.?
3. Preferred Location: Where would you most like to meet for a retreat? (State, region, city, climate, etc.)
4. Retreat facilities: Does anyone have a space that could be used for a retreat, or accomodate visitors?
5. Lodging: What accomodations would you consider? For example, Las Vegas has lots of cheap rooms and flights right now. Would that be an affordable or practical alternative to someone 'hosting' the retreat?

My guess is that only a small group of us will actually attend, with all the financial problems right now. But, since the idea has been resurrected, please share your thoughts on the 'practicality' of a retreat within the next 3 or 4 months.
Would you realistically be interested, and financially able, to attend a retreat or meetup this summer, or as late as September?
Like I did awhile back, I can start gathering the responses into a summary.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,886,609 times
Reputation: 1525
There is an "intentional" community that was built in Greenbelt, MD, by the Federal Government during the New Deal.
It's still alive and well and functioning as a Coop. Even though it is near DC and its high housing market, you can still get a home there for $170,000 or less.
Greenbelt Homes, Inc.: About GHI
It's an interesting concept. There's a town center, a central location for sharing tools (that's what reminded me of it), gardens, common areas, etc. I did try to buy there many years ago but couldn't get approved by the coop, my finances weren't good enough.
But it is a viable concept and one that can thrive. But it does need strict rules and regulations to do that, at least in terms of buying and selling, no renting, having to sell back to the coop under certain circumstances.
Historic Greenbelt
There are two more like it. One outside of Milwaukee:
http://www.greendale.org/About_Green...Greendale.html
And one in Ohio
http://www.greenhillsohio.org/

Last edited by knoxgarden; 03-19-2009 at 12:27 PM..
 
Old 03-19-2009, 12:52 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,050,963 times
Reputation: 2141
Quote:
Originally Posted by anomoly View Post
Turning the idea of a retreat into an actual retreat takes planning, so here's the 1st order of business to think about:

1. Dates: What's the earliest you could realistically attend a gathering?
2. Location: How far could, and would, you realistically travel, by car, plane, bus, etc.?
3. Preferred Location: Where would you most like to meet for a retreat? (State, region, city, climate, etc.)
4. Retreat facilities: Does anyone have a space that could be used for a retreat, or accomodate visitors?
5. Lodging: What accomodations would you consider? For example, Las Vegas has lots of cheap rooms and flights right now. Would that be an affordable or practical alternative to someone 'hosting' the retreat?

My guess is that only a small group of us will actually attend, with all the financial problems right now. But, since the idea has been resurrected, please share your thoughts on the 'practicality' of a retreat within the next 3 or 4 months.
Would you realistically be interested, and financially able, to attend a retreat or meetup this summer, or as late as September?
Like I did awhile back, I can start gathering the responses into a summary.
1. Dates: What's the earliest you could realistically attend a gathering?
I can't go anywhere until 1/2010 after I retire. Then, it is as I choose. So, not this year.
2. Location: How far could, and would, you realistically travel, by car, plane, bus, etc.?
I'd go to the west coast as that is where I'd like to end up, I think. Train or car is my preferred mode - I have had it with the airlines.
3. Preferred Location: Where would you most like to meet for a retreat? (State, region, city, climate, etc.)
I know I'm in the minority, but I have my eye on OR. But I'd be willing to see other places and meet up with you all because I think in any case it would be fun and interesting.
4. Retreat facilities: Does anyone have a space that could be used for a retreat, or accommodate visitors?
Yes, but the location is not where anyone (including me) wants to be.
5. Lodging: What accommodations would you consider? For example, Las Vegas has lots of cheap rooms and flights right now. Would that be an affordable or practical alternative to someone 'hosting' the retreat?
Not very expensive. I think a cheap but clean hotel would work fine. We can go to a restaurant/coffee house to discuss stuff or use the breakfast room that is often available in modest hotels these days. Or even somebody's room. LV is about on the very bottom of my places to go, tho.

I think having it in some location that is a potential landing spot is a good idea. Better than in some random area.

Anomoly, you are an amazing organizer
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