6 Nov 2009, 3:23pm
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interactive strategies

i typed this up for my permaculture design group* ’cause we’re going to use consensus decision-making. it’s a handout (plus some notes) from the directing class at the cornerstone institute this summer that i thought would be useful and interesting to consider. it applies pretty widely i think, to all kinds of interpersonal and group interactions, so i thought i’d share it here.

*to earn our design certificates we are required to do a group project, usually a site design, over the course of the course. it may or may not be implemented–the design is the point, not the implementation–but we are designing for a real site, with a real client and all of that. my group is doing a design for kailash ecovillage.

summary of interactive strategies

collaboration (consensus):
equal emphasis is placed on the task or goals and the relationship between members of a conflict situation–the two sets of task goals are not seen as mutually exclusive–in fact, the approach taken is that the only acceptable problem solution is one that completely accomplishes both sets of goals because the relationship is important to both parties–a problem-solving orientation is used to confront differences.

appropriate uses:
–to gain commitment from others
–to learn more about others’ point of view
–to obtain input into best solution
–when neither set of goals can be compromised
–to work through bad feelings which have been interfering in a relationship
–in conception stages, when nothing is set
–when there is passion on both sides
–as a problem-solving technique
–when different elements are being integrated

again, equal emphasis is placed on the task or goals and the relationships of the members of a conflict situation–now, however, rather than both sets of goals being completely achieved, each party will win and little and lose a little.

appropriate uses:
–to gain commitment from others
–to achieve temporary settlements to complex issues
–to achieve quick solutions under time pressure
–when resources are limited
–when damage/wounding has been done

greater emphasis is placed on the relationship than the task goals–the accommodation style involves giving in and submitting oneself to the goals of another in order to protect the relationship at the cost of personal objectives.

appropriate uses:
–when the issue is much more important to the other person than yourself
–to build up credits for later issues which are important to you
–when you realize you’re wrong, to allow a better position to be heard
–to show that you’re reasonable
–when continued competition would damage your cause when you’re losing
–when preserving harmony is equally important
–to develop team members by allowing them to experiment and learn from mistakes
–when you want to empower people and invite ownership of the process/project/product

greater emphasis is placed on the task or goal than relationships–winning at all costs becomes the most important consideration.

appropriate uses:
–when quick decisive action is vital (such as emergencies)
–on important issues where unpopular courses of action are needed
–on issues vital to company welfare when you know you’re right
–when you’re working with people who need leadership
–when personal safety is a concern
–when important values are at stake
–when you’re relied upon for vision

emphasis is placed neither on the task nor the relationship–using this style, one gives up both in return for non-involvement.

appropriate uses:
–when the issue is trivial or when other issues are more pressing
–to let people cool down, to regain perspective and composure
–when there is absolutely no chance of satisfying your concerns and the potential damage of confronting a conflict outweighs the benefits of its resolution
–when safety and emotional well-being are a concern
–when compromise doesn’t work


speaking of cornerstone–the other day i found, in the back of my planner, a folded-up sheet of paper–from a class in which we wrote words of wisdom, things we live by, etc, anonymously on a piece of paper, folded it up, tossed it into a pile in the center of the room, and picked up a different one–with the following words (along with some others) written on it:

“we lose things, and then we choose things. the choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not.”

20 Aug 2009, 8:47pm
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sunnyside up

well! here i am. home in sunnyside, the first portland neighborhood i ever loved. sitting on the couch with a wet cloth draped over my shoulders, sweatin’ out the heat wave and looking at pictures from my last few days in eureka, in which i am wearing a hat and scarf. i am tired, but it will be okay. i remember packed sixteen-hour days at the institute, and i know that life can be both busy and beautiful. right now it just feels busy.

i busted my bike during the last week of the institute–the rear derailleur snapped right off. mom drove down to eureka to see our show and drive me and my bike home. we stopped in ashland to see equivocation–i liked it. made it home monday afternoon–the 10th of august. on tuesday morning, a. and i picked up a u-haul truck. spent the day carrying boxes and wrestling furniture. spent the week unpacking. i filled four MORE boxes with books to sell to powell’s and i still have too many books for our bookshelves. one of my coworkers fixed my bike for me–i upgraded to a nicer derailleur and got a new chain while i was at it. got some necessary tooth work done (ugh)–my birthday present from my parents. slowly the apartment began to resemble a place suitable for human habitation. i spent an evening assembling flatpack furniture (extra bookshelves–what can i say?). we brought my cat, kepler, over from my old house, where he was staying with my old housemates for the summer. we brought my container garden over from my parents’ house. my strawberry plant is yielding one or two small delicious ripe strawberries per day. a few days ago i planted winter greens seeds in my remaining pots. sunday was the hawthorne street fair and sunday parkways; the route ran by two blocks from our apartment. i rode to the top of mount tabor. my friend kati was in town for a few days. then my old friend becca announced that she and her roommate intend to move up here (!) from berkeley in september. they spent tuesday night in our tiny living room and wednesday looking for jobs. a few other scattered friends have been here or are here and have left again or are leaving soon. i started full-time work on monday. i am helping with development of a new e-commerce site for “urban cyclists,” but i’m not sure yet exactly what i will be doing as far as that goes. i am daydreaming about permaculture design courses and about my Big Bike Adventure.

there you go.


mom’s front yard vegetable garden is a vegetable JUNGLE.

the day we got home, we crawled in to harvest some tomatoes and the rest of the beets. some of them were ENORMOUS!

we also spotted some squash in there. harvesting them is going to make me feel like the crocodile hunter.

we pickled and canned the beets! it was a beautiful process and made the kitchen smell like mulled wine. can’t wait for my winter salads.


our apartment is almost 90 years old, and has some idiosyncrasies, which have been alternately frustrating and charming. the oven is probably about as old as the apartment, and looks gorgeously vintage, but the dials have two seemingly-identical “BAKE” options and no labeled “OFF” option. the stove burners are controlled by buttons: 1 2 3 LO WARM OFF for each of them. the apartment is four rooms all in a row: living room leads to kitchen leads to bedroom leads to bathroom. there is a second outside door to the kitchen, but we shoved the fridge in front of it in order to make room for a tiny kitchen table. we have a little patio outside, and my plants are arranged on the front steps. our neighbors across the way have a happy golden retriever and prayer flags hung over their door. our other neighbor rides a fixed-gear, and when i gave him a homebaked cookie the other day, he invited us out to waffles this weekend. i am really excited to get to know the parts of this neighborhood i haven’t already, to meet the sweet neighborhood cats and say hello to my neighbors!


the end of the institute… ah. each day felt like a week–each week like a year–each day like a minute. i watched the show on opening night, a little to one side of the audience. it hit me–what we had done–when one of the main characters, a little girl named christina, played by a girl named joana, mentioned to jason’s character: “it was five cent cookie day at the bakery!” and the audience audibly acknowledged that: oh yes! vellutini’s! five cent cookies on tuesdays! this is a piece of knowledge and of culture that is theirs. it’s a very simple thing that we were doing… just giving them their place. and those of us who had never conceived of five cent cookie day a month before, we nodded and laughed too. oh yeah! we’ve been there! those cookies are tasty! we’re so glad you told us about that place!

like… there is a fruit tree in the public right-of-way. and everyone is so used to walking past it, they don’t notice it at all. until someone comes by who’s never seen it before, and points it out. and someone has a ladder, and someone else has a bucket, and everyone helps pick the fruit, and prepare the fruit, and eat the fruit, and maybe they didn’t know they were hungry–and everyone goes away full, and life is a little sweeter.

hah! maybe. and then we left.

9 Aug 2009, 9:38am
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the next chapter

very soon: home, to the next adventure.

(my crew)

3 Aug 2009, 10:52pm
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for each of us has a golden fleece to seek

spent the day, with several other institute students, here–

on the van duzen river about forty minutes southeast of eureka.

hah! this is the lasting effects of peter dimuro you’re seeing. in this beautiful environment… we just had to dance. it was a great day: swimming, sharing food, clambering over rocks, photosynthesizing (the sun as a source of energy–plus, they call our student-only meetings “photosynthesis”), dancing.

today was our last day off. we’re less than one week away from The End. i have actually felt much less busy recently since tech started and we’ve had class less often and even production calls have sort of tapered off… or maybe i am just more used to being busy all the time!

been taking lots and lots of photos. i deleted all the music off my computer (it’s all on an external hard drive at home) to make room for them all. i going to be taking (official? ish?) production photos during our final dress rehearsal on wednesday (when did that get so close?), and one of the photos i took last night is theoretically gonna be in the times-standard. that feels pretty good. i bought a monopod today to help me out on wednesday. and ’cause sometimes i feel like getting “serious” about photography. mostly i just like taking photos.

this is the mist i was telling you about–

life is full. years are as good a way as any to measure time, i guess, and today i thought about how every year is fuller and more ____ than the year before, and oh what a good and auspicious way this has been to begin my 25th trip ’round the sun, which started on july 9th, the first day of the institute.

1 Aug 2009, 6:55pm

peace i love the world




“building the set was okay, but building the theatre nearly killed us.”

(one of three tents that make up the green room/dressing room area)


(paper pulp kitty that i made from leftovers from the ship’s eventual figurehead)


this morning the community engagement team went to the arcata farmer’s market with our eureka treasure map.


it was delicious.


earlier this week, in our class on community-engaged directing, we did this values exercise, in which we were given a sheet of paper full of possible things to value (and blank spaces to write more) in art-making and in life. we were supposed to circle ten values that we prized above all else… and then narrow that down to five, then three, then one. very difficult! my top three were– communication, respect, and adventure.

30 Jul 2009, 11:33pm
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on monday evening we went on a boat ride on the bay. there were lots of pelicans:

(that photo is actually 3 photos. in high school i compensated for my mediocre photography skills by editing the bejeezus out of the pictures i took. it made me feel artsy. today i had fifteen unexpected minutes to myself, and anyway my photos of the birds from monday were not very good, so i made this.)

today a few of us went to the farmer’s market just up the street with our “treasure map” of eureka to collect more people’s stories and generate interest in the play. i also ate really really delicious strawberries handpicked last night by the guy who sold them to me. he had four varieties; the ones i ate were a hybrid with wild strawberries and were small and tart and sweet and amazing. i also bought these two tiny succulents:

which i plan to put in a pretty turquoise pot together and keep on our kitchen table in the apartment a. just moved into today in sunnyside. yup. yes. oh yes.

the other day i figured out how to see the mist here. rain so light it doesn’t get anything wet, but you can feel it a little on your skin if you’re not too busy feeling everything else. you unfocus your eyes a little and look at the air: a fine, trembling film between you and the world.

my days are very full and at the end of them i feel calm and productive. been spending a lot of time in the costume shop making argonauts’ helmets and playing with the hot glue gun, but tomorrow i’m spending all day (starting at 9am) at the blue ox working on construction and set stuff. i am thankful for my 20-minute solitary bike rides to the blue ox. i am thankful for our end-of-day meetings, even when they last until 12:30am.

(adam in tin can mailman used bookstore in arcata on our day off)

27 Jul 2009, 12:08am
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