Sunday, November 18, 2007

In the beginning

Have you ever had a deep desire for something, but were never able to describe it or give it a name?

Have you ever wondered about the possibilities of doing several things as a career other than what you are doing right now?

Ever been puzzled with why it is that you are competent or even really quite good at many skills but not really outstanding at any one?

I've had all of these questions for as long as I can remember. I've often thought that at any given moment, quite outside of my planning or actions, that one special opportunity or moment or meaningful..."thing"...will appear; as if guided by God as a part of some ordained plan.

It's a bit paralyzing when people tell you, in the context of faith, that they expect that one day great things will come from you. The tendency is to wait for God to do something rather than doing something with what you already know you are skilled in. You plod along as always; never trying to reach the next level of achievement because you are waiting for "it" to happen, because others are believing it will happen. Or so they said. It ends up being more of a curse than anything else. Or at least it was for me until I grew into some self confidence. Then some form of regret sets in because of all the wasted time. More time is wasted being remorseful.

A few months ago, very dear friends of ours had us over for dinner where a wonderful soup was served as one of the courses. Carrot soup. I asked for the recipe and was told that I already had it. In fact, it was something I possessed for more than two years. It was part of a cookbook which the hostess had given me one of the first times we met.

The first thing I did when I returned home was rifle through the cookbook shelf to find my copy. Sure enough...there it was. M00sew00d C00kb00k, and on p.28 was the recipe for the most amazing soup I had ever tasted. I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of something larger than one recipe. I wanted a community. I saw a building that was filled with people, food, music, theatre, wood, stone, warmth. What the hell was in those carrots?

The idea is a collective. A collection of people who enjoy getting together to cook and eat, and who want to engage in a community project. This project could be a collection of many things, but the core of it will be a restaurant that provides meals which are nutritionally balanced and aesthetically pleasing. And at this stage I'm thinking that it will largely be vegetarian.

The plan is to grow this project over the next 14 years or so and watch what it becomes. I do not plan on doing it alone. I will not do it alone...that would defeat the purpose. I will wait for others to be assimilated...into the BORG. Brian's Organic Rice-eating Groupies.

First on the list is simply to cook, and to do it in community with others. We've started having happy hour every Friday at 5:00 where we will have various people over for something to drink, as is custom in a happy hour. But what I plan to do is to try several new recipes each week and come up with a tested list of things which I feel will work well in "the collective". I've bought nearly all the M00sew00d cookbooks now, and there are quite a few of them. My goal is to work through most of the recipes and share them with as many people as I can. The recipes are not only nutritious, but are well thought through and delicious. You'd never really think of them as vegetarian.

Next in the plan, and this will go on as the initial part is going on, is to keep my eyes opened for a plot of land and a building. My dream is a place in town where I can move a building onto. The building will be an old community centre, schoolhouse, church, firehall, etc., from another community where it is no longer appreciated...and for a real bargain. I'll buy it for a song and move it onto a new foundation on the plot of land which I will have also bought for a similar tune.

So, I guess for a while, this will turn into somewhat of a food blog where I will share some of the great food I will be experiencing. It will also be a place for you to share with me something that you wish for me to experience; food-related or otherwise.

I never thought that I could be so easily enticed by a dangling carrot.

Next post: Carrot Soup

new focus

I'm a long ways away from early retirement.

14 years, in fact. 24 years from regular retirement.

That makes me feel good because I like what I do and I think I'll keep liking it for at least that long. But when it comes time to make those kinds of decisions, I don't want to make them in a panic.

Joyce and I have been to see the financial planners who tell us what we need to do from now until then, but it's all about money. He asked me what I did for a living and, after I told him I was a teacher, he said I guess your pretty much set then. I wasn't sure what to think about that. Was that good, was that bad? I later discovered that all he meant was that between now and my retirement, my income, aside from new contracts and Bill Gates sending me a tonne of cash for forwarding those emails, would stay pretty much the same. So we had to come up with a financial plan with what I could count on.

But, again, that's all about money. I hate it.

It's been about a year now since seeing the planner, and, well, things are pretty much the same...just like he said they'd be.

One thing has changed. I've begun to think about the time in my life when I won't be teaching. I've had visions of me standing and staring out the window just like I do with the first week of summer holidays. No plan for the day, just relax. Well before too long I'm driving Joyce crazy with the pacing and the staring. I'm sure I'll end up with a freshly sharpened #2HB pencil jabbed into the base of my neck before enjoying too much time at the window.

A couple of summers ago I realized that I had this tendancy, so I came up a plan for the entire summer long before the summer actually arrived. The plan took into account many of my passions and the things that I always wished that I had time for while school was in session. The transition was seamless. The plan actually went into effect a fews days before the summer started. Effortless motion from work to "rest".

So now, thinking about time on a much larger graphic organizer, I wish to plan, over the next 14 or so years, for a transition from work to a "whatever" and chronicling the evolution here. There is a definite direction. Like an idea with it's arms opened wide to embrace other ideas along the way. I'll do the forward motion and as you enter into my community we'll dine together on the present and the future.

The direction: A Philosophy.

Next post: In the beginning.

Monday, November 12, 2007