Posted by: terrapraeta | December 23, 2009

Happy [Insert Holiday Here]

she’d been drinking too much egg nog
and we begged her not to go
but she forgot her medication
and she staggered out the door into the snow
when we found her the Christmas morning
at the scene of the attack
she had hoofprints on her fore head
and incriminating Clause marks on her back

Less Than Jake, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

I’m going to hold of on posting very much for the next week and change. Partly, because I’m working a pretty heavy load for the next week, and partly because I know a lot of people will not be around for reading and discussing on the net so much.

With that in mind, I was looking at my stats the other day and discovered several articles that seem to have gotten only minimal attention, yet I felt that they had something important to say. So we’ll throw those up here and see if anyone else agrees 🙂

One the most communal human behaviors is cooking. Yet in this modern world, many people have given up this art as lost, as too time consuming, as too hard. So the question arises: who will teach future generations to cook?

A friend of mine asks, without knowing of my writing, or passion, on the subject: It’s amazes me more and more what honest communication can do. What puzzles me is why it’s not our natural default.

If we are to build new communities, how do we do so with people that have learned, all their lives, that selfishness is the only way to get ahead in this world?

The great water debate: plastic bottles and the three R’s.



  1. Who will teach young people to cook? Neighbors, friends, relatives, books. Anybody who wants to learn has lots of opportunities. I was inspired by a neighbor to pickle for the first time this year, and another neighbor got me into fruit drying.

    Here’s a cool article about the English “incredible edible” meme-infection. 🙂

  2. Festive festivities, tp and all…

    yes honest communication is amazing…and so easy once you’ve got the nerve…I’ll ponder`that awhile


  3. Tp, you wrote: “they exhibit the worst behavior, simply (perhaps) because I allow them to get away with it. And knowing this, I continue with my behavior and point out to them what I do and what they do and ask them to reconcile the two. But no matter how much I give, nothing seems to ever change.”

    The key point is you allowing them to get away with it. Stop allowing it, and they will find a better way of behaving. That’s been my experience anyways. Analyzing and nagging and pointing out… does not work. Boundaries do work. Merry Christmas, tp and all!

  4. Hey Vera,

    Sure boundaries are a way to go. At the same time, I *refuse* to tell anyone else what to do. And the point was that be placing a hard and fast boundary, then the first time it gets crossed, the “game is up” so to speak. There is no opportunity for a second chance. (Or else the boundary is meaningless.) The point of the article was my realization that “teaching by example” is all well and good, but it won’t work with everyone and so we need to know when its time to “give up”, move on, let it be. And likewise, when looking to build community, a skill set to help identify those that really are not “ready” for that kind of commitment/environment would be really useful.


  5. Good point. I would love to see your musings on the skill set needed. Have been thinking about same.

  6. It’s on my list 😉


  7. I think the decline in cooking may be overstated. People may be cooking less, but that doesn’t mean that there are fewer people cooking, it just means that people aren’t cooking 7 days a week.


  8. terra,
    Re: Boundaries
    Shunning works. That’s why tribal people use it. By not adjusting your behavior toward people acting inappropriately you give them permission to continue acting that way. In our society the fact that we don’t really NEED each other to survive makes social pressure harder to bring to bear, though. Even outright banishment can be met with a shrug.


  9. Jim —

    On cooking… yes people are cooking less often, but there are also many people I have personally met in my life that don’t cook at all. And more that don’t cook from scratch. Ever. And that was the issue Pollan was addressing.

    On Shunning: Oh, absolutely… within a community. For me, I was dealing with it (both times) in a one-one one with my partner which changed the dynamic considerably. And if we are trying to start new communities, a personality like my ex, or like Eddie as he was when we were together could destroy everything before it ever had a chance.


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