About Us: Bios of Metro-Village Members
JACQIE [Interviewed by Mary]
"You never know how the past will turn out." This quote from Bob Dylan is a favorite of Jacqie who is mother to Eric and Sara and grandmother to Makayla (10), India (7) and Tommy (6). She is passionate about this family of hers. Max and Mimi, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are in her life also. Lobster is a favorite food and she cooks a mean spinach, rice and cheese quiche. Water color painting, jewelry making, and playing the recorder are hobbies. A favorite author is John Irving and "LIFE OF PI" is a favorite book. You might not know by meeting Jacqie that she grew up mostly in Germany.
A scary experience happened to her one morning when she opened her front door and found what she thought was a dead man on her porch. Luckily, the man was drunk and not dead. But it did give her quite a start! A woman with a huge capacity for joy, Jacqie finds peace with a walk in the woods and feels sorrow at her awareness of the suffering in the world.
Community is important to Jacqie and so she desires to live in co-housing. She feels most alive when being valued for who she is when in community. Working with a group provides her with a sense of belonging. She just enjoys socializing and having fun with a group. A profound experience for her is seeing people including herself transcend ego for the good of the whole group. Living in co-housing gives her many chances to become aware of her flaws and that is her first step to overcoming these flaws. She knows making group decisions may be challenging but she is ready for this aspect of cohousing too. She is really looking forward to "move in" day at Metro-Village!
Three words Jacqie uses to describe cohousing: multigenerational, diverse, and collaborative.
JEAN [Interviewed by Linda]
Jean is passionate about animals and they have always been a big part of her life. She has a 14-year-old beagle and three rabbits. She is passionate about rescuing animals in need and has volunteered for animal rescue organizations. Jean is also passionate about protecting the environment and minimizing her carbon footprint.
She finds joy in life by spending time with her partner Mary and is rejuvenated by spending time in nature. She feels sorrow when she sees people taking advantage of others.
Jean wants to live in a cohousing community to make new friends and live a sustainable lifestyle. She hopes that Metro-Village is a community where every person will have a voice in decision-making and be respected. Jean has had some profound experiences in other communities. She participated in her Unitarian Universalist church's round-the-clock support for church members who were dying and found it a very moving and meaningful experience. On the lighter side, she loves to play games and have leisurely conversations with groups of friends and hopes to do that at Metro Village.
Jean is a vegetarian and her favorite food is garlic bread. She would like to improve her cooking skills and hopes that this is something she can learn from her new neighbors at Metro-Village.
Jean's favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Her favorite author is Toni Morrison and her favorite movie of the moment is "The Royal Tenenbaums."
The scariest thing that ever happened to Jean occurred when she was an innocent bystander in a bank robbery. The bank robber appeared to have a concealed weapon and demanded that Jean and others in the bank lie of the floor until the robbery was over. Fortunately no one was hurt!
LINDA [Interviewed by Jean]
Linda is looking forward to Metro-Village as a beautiful space to be shared with like-minded people. She is hoping that it will be an intergenerational community that includes families with children. She has two sons herself (one in college, one in high school), and the scariest moment in her life was when her baby spent over six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. When one of Linda's sons required a kidney transplant, the community she lived in rallied around her family and provided support – a profound experience that she cherishes. Another memorable, albeit less serious and stressful, time that Linda enjoyed being part of a strong community was a period of time when she had "summer friends" that she would meet at a community pool most days while their children swam – an interaction that was both easy and rewarding.
An avid reader, two of Linda's favorite books are "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese and "Mutant Message from Down Under" by Marlo Morgan. She also feels passionate about teaching children to read and serves on the board of a non-profit organization. Her hobbies range from artistic (for example, making art quilts and collages) to sports (baseball). In fact, she recently completed a ropes course that included climbing and jumping off a 40-foot pole (Go, Linda!). Her favorite joke is: Question - "What do you get when you put two ducks in a box?" Answer – "a box of quackers." Linda's favorite APP is Scrabble and her favorite food is coffee ice cream. She likes to cook and excels at grilling both meat and vegetables.
The three concepts that sum up Linda's vision of living in cohousing are:
spontaneity, enjoying her neighbors, and reducing her carbon footprint.
JOYCE [Joyce, Lisa and Sarah did a group interview]
Joyce strikes you right off as someone who is caring, has a great sense of humor, and also has high standards and expectations for herself. When asked for a quote, she said "if you can't do it right the first time, why try to do it at all"! She enjoys reading novelists such as Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, and loves the movie "Rain Man," saying she could see it again and again. One thing that is particularly important to Joyce is aesthetics and beauty. A beautiful environment brings her peace, and she prefers harmonious and beautiful surroundings to some types of art which, she says, can be "unnerving."
The funniest thing that's ever happened to Joyce sounds like something from a movie itself; she says "I was walking in the snow and I thought the snow was hard enough to walk on, but the snow was really soft, and I fell down with my dog, and the dog and I were both under the snow!" She has some hobbies, such as sewing, and doing creative and imaginative things. For pets, Joyce likes little dogs. Joyce loves eating salmon and black bean corn enchiladas – both these dishes both sound marvelous! She also likes to cook chicken breasts.
Joyce is passionate about people and very friendly, generous, and outgoing, saying "I like talking. I talk like mad!" What brings her joy in life is "knowing I've done something for someone else." And her favorite thing to do in a group of people is making them feel comfortable. She likes the feeling of belonging that you get in community, and looks forward to the learning that will come from the cohousing experience, saying that she looks forward to learning to listen and learn from her new neighbors. She says "cohousing… brings individuals together to establish a family-type of bond of talents, trust, and resources that leads to growth and development in a safe environment."
Lisa loves art, music, and literature. When asked her favorite book, she said that she reads both fiction and nonfiction; for nonfiction, her favorite book she's read recently is "A Paradise Made in Hell" by Rebecca Solnit, about communities that form in disasters. Her longtime favorite novel is "Orlando" by Virginia Woolf. She doesn't really like watching films over and over again, but admits to watching Cocteau's "Orphée" every couple of years. However, although this makes her sound like an intellectually, she also likes to read "stupid webcomics" and is obsessed with Bollywood action movies from the 1970s. When asked about hobbies, she said she doesn't have a lot of spare time right now since she has a full-time job and is going to school part-time studying environmental policy; however, when pressed she says what she loves doing most these days is writing, exploring new cities, and sitting in coffee shops and thinking. She also likes taking photographs. She hopes to be a freelance writer once she retires.
Lisa has no pets; she has one grown daughter who lives up in New England. She loves good food, particularly loving south Indian food (she loves the restaurant Woodlands in Langley Park) and local organic food. Her specialty dishes are a banana bread recipe that she learned from her cousin ages ago, rum balls, and tofu with black bean chili paste. She insists that even people who don't like tofu will like her tofu.
What Lisa most recently tried for the first time was to try to learn to be car-free; she now tries to walk or take public transportation whenever possible. She says she enjoys the freedom of not having to figure out where to put your car, and just sitting on the bus and reading and letting the driver worry about the traffic. The reason she's doing this is that she is passionate about sustainability because of coming crises such as climate change – this passion is what motivated her to check out cohousing. When asked for a quote, she said she'd like to quote ecological economist Herman Daly but can't remember the quote exactly; it's something like "in a world with finite resources, the only way to overcome poverty is by sharing." Lisa is looking forward to learning important lessons in sharing and patience in community, sharing those lessons with others in order to grow the movement toward sustainability.
Sarah tells us that she doesn't have a favorite quote, but her favorite piece of writing is the "Gettysburg Address." She says, "It's a beautiful piece of writing" and stressed its importance to our country. Regarding her favorite books, she generally reads nonfiction but definitely also loves Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front." To continue with the literary theme, we asked Sarah who would play her in the movie of her life – and she answered that something like her life has already been made into a movie, since in "Return to Paradise" Anne Heche played a lawyer who proved the innocence of her brother who was in prison, and Sarah, a lawyer, once worked very hard to set an innocent man free as well.
Sarah is also a fun person; she has two cats, and she has two children, both of whom are in college. She says that the funniest thing that's ever happened to her was when she was sitting at a sidewalk café at an elegant bistro, dressed to the nines, and a bird crapped right on her head. She has a number of hobbies: reading, writing, bicycle riding, rowing, and sewing! With all of that, she still wants to learn to knit. She likes to cook, too, and her specialty is whiskey bread pudding, which she assures us is made with lots of whiskey.
The last time Sarah tried something for the first time was rowing, which she started doing last year. She loves it and won't miss it for anything now. We also asked her what something might be that people would be surprised to learn about her, and she said that although she's a lawyer and generally really serious about stuff, she can also be a big goofball.
Sarah feels passionate about justice, honesty, and integrity. She said, "I dig justice! If I didn't, I wouldn't be a lawyer." Her favorite fun thing to do with a group is a project no one knows how to do, that everyone has to figure out. She said, "I love camaraderie - it's almost better than friendship." The strength and value of camaraderie also defines what has made her feel most alive in community, and what she's learned from working with a group of people. This is why she wants to live in cohousing; she wants to live "in a true community, not a contrived one."
MARY [Interviewed by Jacqie]
Mary will be living at Metro-Village with her partner, Jean, and her dog, Penny, a beagle. Mary also has a grown daughter, Susanna. Mary's favorite quote is just one word and it comes from the John Lennon song of the same name: "Imagine."
Mary has trouble naming a favorite book or author because they change all the time. Right now she is enjoying Sue Miller's books, especially "While I Was Gone." She gets on binges. During 2008 and 2009 she mostly read books about the Holocaust, so by last year she needed a break, which is how she got into the Sue Miller books.
A movie she wouldn't mind seeing again and again is "Fried Green Tomatoes." Of the movies made in the year of her birth, her favorite is "It's a Wonderful Life."
She doesn't have an iPhone and admits that technology is not her strength.
The scariest thing that has ever happened to her occurred when her daughter was 8 weeks old. She was having pain in her arm and went to a doctor who x-rayed her and told her she probably had cancer and could expect to lose her arm and then die. She went to another doctor and learned that all she had was tendonitis.
The funniest thing that has ever happened to her was a misunderstanding. One day on the way to a friend's house she accidentally hit and killed a squirrel that ran out in front of her car. When she got to her friend's house, Mary confided that she was very upset because she had just hit and killed a squirrel, even though she knew that there was no way she could have avoided it. Her friend began to hyperventilate and became totally freaked out to the point where Mary began to wonder if she really had done something wrong. As it turned out, her friend thought she had said that she hit a little girl who ran out in front of her car.
Mary's favorite joke is a "Knock-Knock":
Knock knock --
Who's there? -- Orange.
Knock knock --
Who's there? --
Knock knock --
Who's there? --
Yellow. Orange you glad I didn't say "orange"?
Her hobbies include playing the guitar and doing crossword puzzles. She also loves to read and gets a lot of pleasure from involvement with her church and now with Metro-Village. Her favorite food is pizza and a special food that she prepares is hot chicken salad. She recently started playing the guitar solo at her church. People would be surprised to know that she spent a number of years in a religious cult. She feels passionate about justice. Her family – her partner Jean and her daughter Susanna – bring her joy in life but a sorrow for her is that her brother really doesn't know her and doesn't want to know her.
Her favorite fun thing to do with a group is to play games. She has felt most alive in a community when she realizes that she can be in a group and can be comfortable being herself. Her most profound experience living in a community has been when there have been disagreements yet group members still had a connection and a respect in spite of the disagreement. The best thing that working with a group of people has brought her is a sense of being part of something bigger than just herself. She wants to life in cohousing to have a connection with others and is most looking forward to living with others who want to be part of a community.
Three words that describe her vision of cohousing: togetherness, individual and purpose.
PAMELA [interviewed by Will]
Pamela's friends describe her as a "the glue or uniter," because she can gather a group that would never realize they had similarities and help them discover their common thread.
Since her dad sailed across Lake Ontario in a Sunfish when she was little, she has been called to adventure.
Her adventures began as exchange student to Switzerland in high school. In college she continued to explore as she spent a semester at sea. Her "Seamester" consisted of living in a very small community in "very very very close quarters" (a 75-foot gaffed rigged schooner + 25 people) sailing up the east coast. Pamela quickly learned she loved community but liked a bit more privacy! Her last year in college she spent a month in the South Pacific where she did a research study and even got tear-gassed while staying in a youth hostel in New Caledonia.
One of the things that appeals to Pamela about cohousing is that while each person's privacy is honored there can still be opportunities for friendship, hanging out and chances for spontaneous happenings.
When she returned to upstate New York after school she joined the National Ski patrol at a local ski area and participated in many areas like OEC instructor, mountaineering and obtaining her "senior" level of first aid and ski-ability. She also worked with disabled children during this time teaching them to ski.
In warmer weather she is passionate about white water kayaking. You are likely to find her camping near some river Friday night in anticipation of paddling it the next morning!
Pamela beside the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
A self described geek, she relates that she still dreams of a united federation of planets as described on Star Trek. "I was the kid who helped recycle paper, cans and bottles, before that was popular. Baking bread with my elderly neighbor and going mushroom hunting were fun past times when I was little." (She still loves Morel mushrooms but relates she is less adept at finding them now.)
To sum up Pamela's life she says, "I want to live so I never say, I wish I had tried that." For example on the back burner she has hopes of exploring the newly discovered caves in Vietnam and wants to plan an extended trip to Tibet. Her next planned adventure is sea-kayaking in Italy this September!
As you get to know Pamela you will find surprises, like all of us. She actually plays a mean flute and plays with a group in Takoma Park on Friday nights.
Adventure comes in many forms to her. Reading in her nook, sipping tea, savoring a crackling fire and reflecting on her readings can also provide her great deal of joy. "No trees are killed when I read something in my nook, and I can keep a huge library at my fingertips!"
"Cohousing is such an exciting concept to me. I love that I am helping create this new community, that my ideas are valued and discussed. The group we have started is eclectic and fun and I feel that we embrace similar ideals such as a love for our planet. I look forward to the 'adventure' that creating cohousing has presented!"
WILL [Interviewed by Pamela]
Meet Will. Will is very active in many groups and activities in the surrounding community. In fact he suspects that is why he doesn't get enough sleep despite making a resolution last year to get more sleep.
He has many varied interests which include a Men's group, which he formed 19 years ago. Despite his founding it, he feels strongly that he isn't in charge of it. "There are 8 members currently and I was very careful to ensure ownership belongs to the group as a whole. We all bring different energy." Each week his group does "Mat work". Will feels this helps keep him centered in his heart.
What is most striking about Will is his commitment to spirituality. He is very active in several groups at Seekers church and is excited that Metro-village will enable him to be within walking distance of that community. Two of the groups he mentioned being involved in at Seekers were the Mission support group, where they hold discussions about how their daily jobs are their life missions and additionally the Sacred Racial Conversations group. This group has reached out to another church in the community and the two churches have been examining how to cross racial bridges spiritually.
He also can be found cooking on Tuesday nights for 10-20 people at the School of Christian Learning. He feels that he has learned a great deal about hospitality and places for silence by his participation there. Often he can be found biking on the local bike paths with a biking group.
"I just finished reading through the book, "The Power of Now." I liked it because it made me more aware of myself. I tend to be goal oriented and focused in the future. It helped me become more in the moment." This should benefit him greatly during his Yoga classes at Willow Street Yoga Center!
"I have always felt like that living in the moment and being present right now has a lot to do with how you are living day to day. I love my job as a high school counselor. I can't believe it has been 25 years and that I could retire. I love working there so much retirement really isn't in my cards right now. We make a great team where I work."
Will is also a grandfather and is currently enjoying a new (about 6 months now) relationship. "She is completely on board regarding my love of cohousing. She and I tend to do a lot of vegetarian cooking and have recently been juicing. My relationship with my children and my spiritual connection bring me great joy."
What more should you know about Will?
"I like to do retreats, and I usually do several a year," he said. "I am not good at small talk. I don't read a lot, watch TV or see many movies… but when it comes to food that's a different story. I can talk about that all day! My specialty is – baklava and spanakopita. I make the baklava with Maple sugar instead of honey and people really enjoy it. I am most looking forward to shared meals and some routines that will get established where we can support each other and have fun together. I like that in a cohousing community you can share resources but still have your privacy. I also like the potential cohousing has at providing a sense of belonging and shared back up.
Three words that sum up cohousing for Will: connections, acceptance, and options.