Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Outside the lines

I know other homeowners are concerned with the big issue of the future of Loreto Bay as well as the upcoming condo regime meetings, but me, I'm living in my little world, happy in my belief that every little thing's gonna be alright.

I'm one of the homeowners on the ground working on community building, a concept I understood the original Loreto Bay founders wanted to promote. Having lived in the suburbs all my life I was intrigued by the idea of living in a village where neighbors were encouraged to interact. Loreto Bay appealed to me on that level. Here, there are no garages to pull into undetected. I like seeing familiar faces daily and sharing the experience of navigating life in a foreign country together. As the years pass we are establishing a history together and becoming dear friends. That might not be the goal of many who bought here, but for some of us I'm sure it's an desired outcome of village life.

There is a core group that spends a good portion of each year here. We are one of them. Since we have a young child I find myself compelled make our environment as enriching as possible to her. I'm always looking for ways to bring kids together and ensure that their time here is as rich as possible (plus, it gives me something to do.) On Fridays I hold our house open to kids who want to do arts and crafts. So far the number is small; there are not that many children in Loreto Bay. Their recent project I hung on a clothesline outside my house thinking that other residents might enjoy their work, might enjoy anything different and unusual on their strolls through the neighborhood. Today I was asked (politely) to take it down due to condo regime rules. God forbid I dirty up the pristine atmosphere of the stuccoed environment. However, I think my point was made that real people are living here and we're bound to spill outside the lines.

It's time for a community center, a common place for neighbors to gather. I'm hoping somehow I can wrangle a space from whoever-the-powers-that-be are for this purpose. I envision having a commercial space along the Paseo reserved for homeowners for hanging out. It could have a lending library, card tables, games, television, worktables, a bulletin board. It could host workshops, Spanish lessons, etc. Nothing so fancy, just a hang-out. I know this is nowhere near the top of priorities for Loreto Bay and even for homeowners who are still struggling to get their homes built, but it seems worthwhile to me and I hope we can get it started.

Monday, March 02, 2009


I'm always after Robert to help me with some project around the house. I like to be a busy-body at home always adding improvements and personal touches. He knows to be ready with the drill. My Christmas present was a chandelier he re-fashioned with star-shaped lanterns for over the patio table. He worked a whole weekend stringing and wiring and balancing the thing. He even gave it a toggle on/off switch. My hero.

R0bert is a closet handy-man who requires just a little shove now and then. So, of course, I feel it necessary to draw out his talents by supplying him with projects. I regret that we don't own more square footage around our little chica for me to design and expand. As it is, I have to work within the confines of this postage stamp-sized abode. Ahh, but there is the outside. My creativity is already spilling outside. I'm eyeing the common spaces around us calculating how I could plant some herbs and flowers or maybe mosaic a cement bench or arrange more potted plants on the sidewalk. On Fridays I have been holding an art/crafts session for the neighborhood kids, the village kids, I think I'll start calling them, up on the patio. My plan is to start displaying their artwork outside for the neighborhood to see. I started to pester Robert about my designs for a display board. It ended in us stopping to see Jeff at West Coast Millworks to build me something.

In a week's time I should have an 8x4 plywood and corkboard panel to mount on a wall outside somewhere. Jeff says I can come to the shop to stain or paint the framing however I wish. I'm thrilled to have a project, Robert is thrilled not to have to build it. The kids will be proud to show off their artwork and I think the residents will be happy to see something creative going on. Everybody wins.

There was just one little more thing: I want either a dutch door or some kind of gate to keep Chloe from wondering outside, yet keep our home open to the outside. Robert tagged along looking for something we could fashion into a gate. Actually, he hoped to find a ready-made baby gate; I hoped he'd build me something less plastic-y. I was talking fencing wire and framing and lumber and hammered iron hardware. I even got him to come along to the Sunday flea market (an event I would never even consider stepping foot in back home but here in Loreto it is a highlight of the week for many shopping-starved souls who hope for the near impossible--a perfect strawberry, an unbruised apple, a pair of unused shoes.) We poked around for the baby gate and, while we were at it, an unusual sized battery for a remote control but finding neither.

We ended up buying a worn filet knife for the equivalent of a buck-fifty, a fabulous find for Robert who needed one for fishing. His mood was considerably perked by the act of procuring a bargain and thus in his mind we were finished and it was time for us to go. I persevered a bit more to gather up some vegetables--a decent head of lettuce, garlic, onions, some shelled peas. I always pass on the raw meat. I don't know, something about raw meat on display in the open, sans refrigeration and protective covering, repels me.

As for the doggie gate: This is my solution and it's cheap. The water jug barrier. No installation required.

Pool progress

This is a photo of the community pool recently filled with water. It should be officially opened in two weeks. Rumor is that the community pool in our cluster is next to be built, but when, I don't know. We are in the neighborhood where the spa was originally planned to be located.