Tuesday, January 24, 2012

City Council Approved our SPUD request today!!!

James and I just returned to my house from a very exciting City Council meeting! It was the last in a long, but enjoyable, string of meetings with the city; all of them related to the intention of changing Sixtwelve's zoning from residential to an area where we can have live/work spaces for artists in residence, a gallery, a performance space, classrooms, a teaching kitchen, a community garden, a chicken coop,  and a little place that sells burgers made with Varnum Beef (James' family owns a farm where they raise grass-fed cows.) And there are dreams we haven't even dreamed up yet, so who knows what else we'll be doing over there! What we will encourage is creativity in all forms and a sustainable, pedestrian lifestyle that values local food and community.

Now we have the city's approval to do so many wonderful things! James started working on the SPUD (Special Planned Unit Development) application this past summer.  It was a pretty lengthy application and it took having multiple meetings with city staff just to finalize the application. Thank goodness they were willing to work with us. That's so helpful! Because we are located in an historic district, we were working with the Historic Preservation staff and commission as well as the City Planning staff and commission. Because we have been asking for things in a combination that hasn't been approached before, it just took a while to work through all of the questions. Twice our hearings were postponed, but that was ok.  I had a good feeling it would all work out and that when it did, it would be worth the wait, so we weren't in a hurry.  We want to take our time with every decision and move we make because we want to do this right.  At the end of the day, we're still just feeling our way through this process.  We're learning as we go.

Oh! And today marks the very first time the City Council has voted to approve urban chickens! Add that in with the green materials the Historic Preservation Commission approved for our building, and I feel like we have been very blessed.  I thought about writing, "We have won some major battles," but that isn't the way it unfolded.  I never really felt like we were in battle with the city.  I felt like everyone was looking for a way to help us make this happen and still stay within previous guidelines.  But I also feel like because what we're doing is so different (and yet representative of what so many people across the city are already doing), we were given a lot of leeway that others might not have experienced in the past.

The commission hearings have been a great experience too.  The way I look at it, we have just been given many, many opportunities to tell people about our dream.  Yes, it helps that I am not in a hurry anyway because I'm trying so hard to focus on school.  Yes, it also helps that James is doing such a great job of communicating with the city and others that have been very helpful to us along the way.  But it also helps that our city is ready for this.  Everyone we have ever had the opportunity to talk to about our goals and dreams has offered support. I know that we aren't alone in our hopes for our community.

So many people want to see Oklahoma City thrive.  It's exciting to be a part of it and I'm grateful for this incredible journey! One of the biggest lessons I've learned through all of this is that you have to have patience with yourself, your dreams and other people in order to accomplish anything.  As my sweet brother told me once when I was crying on his shoulder about some stupid boy, "You have to loosen your grip a little. Let some blood back into your knuckles and let things flow." It's true for more than just dating. It's true for everything. Luckily, things are flowing the way we hoped they would. Thank you Oklahoma City for letting us move one step closer to making Sixtwelve everything we hope it will be! And thanks to everyone who has ever encouraged and supported us. You are so important.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Guy Gave Me Flowers Today! :)

I swear there is something magical going on around me.  I think of people and then I see them.  I hope for something and it becomes a reality.  I forget how badly I previously wanted something until I realize that it's sitting right next to me and I know that it's there because I quit yearning for it and just let it flow into my life. In the past week, I've received the sweetest gifts from two very talented guys I know.  I also had the luxury of spending a good amount of time with a really special friend.

Today I felt so fortunate because I was able to finally clean my house and then go over to Sixtwelve, clean up the old building a little and prepare for the Oklahoma Food Coop Delivery Day.  Today's pick up day in Paseo was one of the best ones yet! I missed James being there because it's great to do these things together, but it was also a great experience to plan the day on my own. We both see a lot of travel in our future and we can't both be gone at the same time, so if we can handle it individually we'll always be able to provide good service for our customers and it will be even more fun to work together.

This delivery day, I was blessed to have friends help out! Matt Green, Andy Zeeck, Steve Boyd, Ross Becker, Shannon Summers, and Lisa Gary helped with everything. I sent out a request for help last week on Facebook and because they all volunteered, I found exactly what was needed.  I'm so grateful!

Then, after eating dinner and talking with Ross for a while, I went upstairs in my house and found this in my bathroom! Phillip had left it for me when he was here watering plants today.

Aren't they cute? I called Phillip to thank him for them and he said he had just seen them and they made him happy so he got one for me too.  I'm keeping it by my bed to remind me that even when you think life is good, it can surprise you and be even better.  It's all in how you look at things and right now my view is beautiful. I know that I feel this way because people have been so kind and generous to me.  It really makes a difference, doesn't it?

All of this goodness makes me excited for our City Council meeting next Tuesday.  That should be the last step in rezoning and then we can really take off with interior renovations at Sixtwelve.  I'm ecstatic about the progress because I'm beginning to see the next chapter taking form.  I have a feeling it's going to be the best time of my life so far.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back on the Cleanse

Today is day 4 for me of hopping back on the 21 day, Quantum Wellness cleanse. When I did this cleanse the first time back in September I experienced great results.  But as soon as I finished it, I slipped back into some of my old ways of eating and drinking.  It's easy to just say, "I can eat and drink anything I want."  when you're only accountable to yourself, but I realized within one day of starting this time that I feel so much better when I'm cutting out the sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and animal products.

I love meat, cheese and wine so I can safely say that I won't go my whole life without eating those things. I just can't give up wine!!! But I had been struggling with inertia and wasn't finding the energy I needed to get moving, so when I started the cleanse and found myself jumping around the house that very evening, I knew that I was on the road to better health. I was supposed to start on January 2nd with friends, but it took me about four days to quit intentionally cheating and drinking wine at night. Hahaha! What is it with me? I rebel even against myself when it comes to giving things up and I forget about how great it feels to be healthy.

The same goes for exercise.  I started getting out and walking this week because the weather was sooooooooo nice! I could feel the oxygen in my muscles and my head clearing within the first block of my new route and regime.  Why do I forget about the energy and peace of mind that accompanies taking care of yourself?  I think it's because I'm lazy.  But I've actually lost 8 pounds since last week.  I couldn't believe it when I got on the scale and I know that it's mostly water, but giving up the alcohol and the sugary sodas (the exact thing I wrote about needing to leave behind for good) made that fluid leave my body within three days.  I'm grateful too because I needed some extra motivation this time.

So this weekend I've been out to First Friday in Paseo (which was AWESOME! SO PACKED WITH PEOPLE!) and last night I was invited to two parties in Norman, but I didn't drink at any of these events and luckily, one of the parties was at my friend Courtney's house.  She's always great about eating in the manner of the cleanse, so I never have to worry about going hungry over there.  Haha!  I'm so grateful! I just need to remember to be kind and loving to myself and to do whatever it takes to help myself feel good. And this isn't just a physical thing.  I can tell a huge difference in my mood and ability to keep calm when I don't have the sugar and alcohol in my system.  I'm balanced and that feels even better than loosing 8 pounds.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fortress of Solitude

It's been almost a month since my last post and that has been intentional. After that thesis proposal defense and all of the holiday madness, I was feeling exhausted and vulnerable. I needed a break and a hiding spot.  I have to say that after the last month, I believe in the idea of hibernation. The day after my proposal defense I woke up and the first thought I had was, "I want to build a fort in my living room." I know that's a little weird, but part of the reason was that when I have these breaks between semesters, I give my thoughts over to Sixtwelve and the things that I want to see happen there. One of those concepts is the creation of forts!

In a previous post, I mentioned that I thought a fort would make a good reading space or place for kids to just get away if there's a need. So I thought I would just be practicing something that would be beneficial later. Plus, I was seeing all of my friends posting the fun holiday things they were doing with their kids, and I thought, "Why should the kidless miss out on all of the fun?" So I decided to create a little holiday magic of my own.  It turns out that I really needed that space for myself.  I rested, watched movies, ate delicious food and even entertained guests in the fort. Haha! I took it down for a gathering of friends I had at my house, but when the last guests left, I put it right back up.

Sadly, there's a leak in my aero bed, which was the foundation of the fort, so I think it's time to take it down. There's also the fact that I gained about 10 pounds over the break. Yikes! I don't regret the time I spent in what my brother called my, "Fortress of Solitude." It was good to hide and spend time alone for a while.  I think it's important for everyone.  It gives you strength and energy later to conquer all of your goals.  There has to be a balance in the time you give others and the time you give to yourself.

I guess it's no coincidence that the fort would have a malfunction at the exact time that I have seemed to find the energy and motivation to get back in shape and to jump back into the world.  I'm sure that everyone experiences this to some degree when the weather turns cold, so I don't think there's anything out of the ordinary in my experience.  But I'll tell you something, that fort was a magical place and if I get another aero bed (or if I get it fixed), I'm sure that I'll be building one again soon! :)

Here are some pics of the creation and some of the people that stopped by to visit!

The couches and aero bed were the fort foundation.

My heavy coat rack and the tv support on the opposite wall
 formed the perfect bases for the string that would hold up the sheets.


Inside, I placed every spare blanket and pillow I could find in the house.
I stole a few pillows from my bed too. :)

I hired an IT guy (James) to set up my computer and projector inside so we could watch movies and shows!

Then Poppy, Chandra and Steve came by for a visit! They even brought me flowers!

I love this girl.  She snuggled under all of the pillows and we had a great time! 

Fort Flowers!

James introduced me to the show, "Community," and I loved it so much that I watched two seasons worth.
Glad I still have a little left to watch! :)

Did I mention that the fort was right by the fireplace?  This was usually great because it made everything so cozy and warm, but it was a problem when I didn't get the flue all the way open. Oh dear! I almost asphyxiated us! Thank goodness it was only for a few minutes. Learned a big lesson on that one. :)

Fort Flowers and Fort Sushi! Yum!

James and Dane joined me for lunch that day.

Another holiday gift that was perfect for the hideaway...treats! Have I mentioned how much I love homemade toffee? Haha!

Mad Men! Yes!

Chad was one of my last guests to stop by.  We had thai food and watched crazy youtube videos.  So much fun!

Guests not pictured (because I forgot to take the pics, dang!) were Colleen, Skyler, B&S, and Preston.  It was fun to welcome them into my little hiding space.  Now it's time to rejoin the world! I feel rested, more balanced and ready! Hello 2012!