Experiences with Tiny House Living

This is the meeting for the week of December 18, 2017 through December 24, 2017

This Meeting at a Glance:
Program: Experiences with Tiny House Living
Program Description: A quick look at my off the grid setup where I’m in my fourth year of living happily in less than 200 square feet. I’ll cover some of the challenges that come with this lifestyle choice, especially when living in a very cold and snowy climate. And then a look at all the many freedoms these lifestyle choices have opened up to me in many other areas. And a wrap up with some things others may want to reconsider to gain in exchange a greater freedom in their own lives.
Speaker: Ariel McGlothin

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page. 

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 60 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you; read it while on public transit, waiting in line for coffee, or even at the park! Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Here’s a message from Past President Mitty:

Happy holidays and welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!
Past President Mitty here. As we are gearing up for the holiday season, I want to give my sincere thanks to all of our wonderful club members who have been with us and who help make our club what it is. In the recent meetings, we have had some passionate conversations. What I enjoy the most about our club are the people; that despite having such a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, countries, continents, industries, and economic statuses, we all come together for the common cause of service in helping improve our communities.
Sometimes our passions overtake us and sometimes they’re misinterpreted in the online world of text communication. Did you know 67% of communication is non-verbal? Despite this, we try our best to communicate in a medium that is completely verbal text only; leaving all 67% of the non-verbal communication up to the reader’s interpretation. For example, when you read “Hello. Sure.” in an online setting, there are over a dozen different ways to interpret that. You can interpret it as being too formal and insincere, being courteous, being angry, being condescending, being upset, and so many more ways.
The New Year is coming, and as we are celebrating the holidays with our loved ones and family, remember that you have a family here in Rotary and in this club. Just like any family, we’re not perfect. Sometimes we misunderstand each other, sometimes our family (or club) policies need to be updated, sometimes we have heated discussions — yet despite all of that, we share a common bond and there is love in our group and amongst each other. In 2017 we came together to create our club’s first-ever annual charity fundraiser. Since the start of this Rotary year, we’ve added 4 new members to our growing family. Compared to last year, more guests and visiting Rotarians visit our weekly meetings, and more email inquiries are sent to our club than prior years — asking everything from collaboration questions to requests seeking to meet up for coffee to questions about joining Rotary.
I am proud to be part of this club, the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley because together we are continuing to innovate and to pave the way to becoming a better Rotary experience. We aren’t perfect, but we’re always adapting and evolving.
Friends and my Rotary family — enjoy your holidays. I’m looking forward to 2018! Guests, thank you for being with us this week.
Yours in service,

Mitty Chang, Immediate Past President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

Weekly Funny with the Lady of Laughter (LOL)

We believe laughter is an important part of life, and we should all make time to laugh a little. This segment of our meeting is meant to tickle you just enough. These funnies are curated by member Yvonne Kwan, our “Lady of Laughter!”

From Yvonne: “I had a blast spending this past weekend in Disneyland, so here are some Disney jokes to a-mouse you.”

Why did Mickey go to outer space?
To find Pluto!

What did Winnie the Pooh say to the agent?
Show me the hunny!

Why was Cinderella no good at football?
Because her coach was a pumpkin.

Weekly Inspiration: The Lunch Club Making High School More Inclusive

Every week we start our meetings with a short video highlighting innovation, inspiration, entrepreneurship, or social change. This week we are featuring a video from the Great Big Story about how some high school students are working to make their school more inclusive.

High school can be an isolating experience, especially during lunchtime in the cafeteria. That’s why students at Boca Raton Community High School in Florida created a club called We Dine Together. The club, originally formed by students who noticed a division at school, invites students to feel comfortable being themselves and meet new friends at lunchtime. The goal is to make high school feel a little less lonely for everyone.

Coffee with a Rotarian

Every month our club members are paired with fellow members and special guests for an exclusive one-on-one coffee session called Coffee with a Rotarian. The idea is simple: spend 1 hour of your time during the month to get to better know a fellow Rotarian! Some of the greatest friendships were spawned that way. Members report on their coffee sessions here.

Our Coffee with a Rotarian stories today is shared by member Brett Sham from Sydney, Australia, about what he learned about member Cecelia Babkirk from California, USA.

Here is what Brett had to say about Cecelia:

For Members Only: Updates

This segment of the meeting is dedicated to our club members. This section includes announcements and new initiatives. Guests, you are welcome to read this section or just skip it.

Post photos of your Secret Santa gifts in the members only Facebook Group!

Did you get your gift from your Secret Santa? Make sure to post it in our members only Facebook Group to share with our club what you got, and be sure to leave a note of gratitude for your Secret Santa too! If you haven’t revealed yourself to your recipient, make sure to do so!

Programs Committee Still Needs Speaker Referrals:

The Programs Committee needs your help! If you know someone who you believe would be an interesting speaker for one of our programs, please make the referral or email introduction to the committee! Ready to introduce someone to the club’s programs committee? Email Committee Chair Rushton at [email protected]

Members: NAMEBADGES ARE COMING — Seriously! We’re ordering the first batch this week! Please Update your info please!

The Membership Committee is working on ordering new magnetic name badges for each member! We are missing the info for many members!!! These name badges will have your name on it and your profession. Perfect for wearing when you attend any Rotary events or meetings. In order to do this, we need your most updated information. Members, please click here to submit your info.

Past Member Announcements:

  • Active members now have [email protected] email forwarders! Your forwarder should be your full first name plus the first initial of your last name. Emails going to your @siliconvalleyrotary.com email will be forwarded automatically to the email you have on file with our club. If you want your email forwarder changed to a different variation of your name, please email Webmaster Mitty at [email protected]
  • Members Only Facebook Group: If you haven’t joined our members-only Facebook Group, consider joining! Request an invitation from [email protected]
  • Service Blotter Submissions: Click here to fill out The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey

Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we hold regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley every month! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here.

Also be sure to join our Meetup Group for automatic calendar updates and to RSVP for our events! These are open to all guests as well!

Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley

Fremont, CA
140 Members & Guests

Calling all service-minded entrepreneurs, foodies, and community leaders! This group is for anyone interested in innovation, community service, education, business networking,…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Recent Event Recap:

Club Holiday Party last Friday
We had a blast at Charter President Rushton’s house in San Jose. Thanks to members Megan Breyer, Mitty Chang, Yvonne Kwan, Rushton Hurley, Maxi Bustos, Brian Liddicoat, Nicole Pham and Heather Shaw for coming! We also loved seeing so many guests and +1s, including two of our past guest speakers!

Rotary at Google HQ last Saturday
Thanks to member Maxi for taking our club on a private tour of the Google Headquarters in Mountain View! Members Megan, Ken, Mitty, and Yvonne had a great time seeing the behind-the-scenes workings at Google, where Maxi works.

Upcoming Events:

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

Saturday, January 13, 2018 – New Year Outdoor Expedition

Members, mark your calendars for the morning of Saturday, January 13, 2018, during which our club will have its first event of the new year: an outdoor hiking expedition! Details coming soon!

Other Upcoming Club Events:

  • Saturday, January 13, 2018 – Save the date for a club outdoor expedition (Details TBD)
  • Saturday, February 28, 2018 – Save the date for a club skydiving event (Details TBD)

More events coming soon! All events are open to guests, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to join us! If you ever have questions, please email [email protected]

What would you like to do?

Hey Members! What would you like to do? We’re working on putting together some exciting socials and impactful service projects for our upcoming quarter’s event calendar. Let us know what you want to do by posting in our members only Facebook Group (if you don’t have access, please request it with Webmaster Mitty). Remember, you’re only taking advantage of the full impact of Rotary when you’re stepping up to get involved.

Happy Dollars: Do Good by Sharing Something Good

Each week we ask our members to share stories with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal of this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each fellow members and guests, while giving back to a good cause.

Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

Last week’s happy dollar contributions went towards our club projects. Here are some of the happy dollar messages from last week:

Thank you to member Rory Olsen for his generous $15 donation to The Rotary Foundation’s Polio Plus Fund. Rory had this to say:
“Its less than two weeks from Christmas! Please apply my gift to Polio Plus!”

Thank you to member Brian Liddicoat for his generous $15 donation. Brian had this to say:
“My kids’ school winter plays are almost over! Then we can finally relax!! :)”

Thank you all for your donations last week!

Happy dollars is also a great opportunity to share with the group about something good that has happened to you, while giving back to a great cause. Next week’s happy dollars will go back to powering our club’s projects locally and globally.

So what are you happy about? Share with us below to help with doing good around the world.

Fill out my online form.

Selected Six

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select six comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.

Here are six comments selected from last week’s meeting featuring the program on Envisioning a New Commons:

Member Carlos Gabuardi (Mexico) had this to say:
“I really like the idea of having art as part of our every day life. It makes life more enjoyable and uplift the spirit for our own good and for the good of society at large. On the other hand I am always astonish by the manner in which the Internet is affecting almos every field of life and the Creative Commons project is a significant sample of that. Congratulations on the program!!!

Member Maxi Bustos (California, USA) had this to say:
“Carlos, welcome to the club! Look forward to get to know more about you. Keith, awesome picture! Ethan, thanks for your presentation!

Member Monique Ziesehenne (California, USA) had this to say:
“Interesting meeting! Love Creative Commons and just realized that a recent library project we did used their licenses for music and other aspects of a digital storytelling program! Thanks for the great information. (& sorry to be meeting late! not sure that I have perfect attendance, but I’ll make up)”

Member Raquel D. Juncal (San Diego, USA) had this to say:
“Carlos, welcome to this amazing family! 😀 Ethan, thanks for an informative presentation. IP, when employed correctly, have the power to engender innovation and economic development but there are differences in IP law, or the interpretation of it, because it refers to the fact that countries enact their own IP laws and these have no application or force outside the country in which they are enacted. I took a course with the WIPO and definitely the world of intellectual property is complex but extremely interesting!“

Member Mark Dohn (USA) had this to say:
“Welcome Carlos and whoa! the Copenhagen giants are super cool! Thank you Ethan for the history of Creative Commons and how it has evolved. As an educator, I believe creative commons licensing and how it can be used in schools should be a mandatory course for public educators and definitely at the university level. I believe that most people don’t understand the benefit of sharing rather than protecting.

Member Ferheen Abbasi (Osaka, Japan) had this to say:
“Welcome to the team, Carlos! Ethan, thank you so much for your informative presentation. I learned about CC from former president Rushton when he was my teacher in high school and do my best to use it. Speaking of Rushton, look who I ran into on Friday 😉 <3”

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!

Program: Experiences with Tiny House Living

Every week we bring to you a new program on innovation, education, technology, and humanitarian service. This week our guest speaker is Ariel McGlothin, who will be speaking to us about her experiences with tiny house living.

This week’s program is by a young, semi-retiree living happily off the grid in a house that is less than 200 square feet. She will present about some of the challenges that come with this lifestyle choice, especially when living in a very cold and snowy climate. She will also look at the many freedoms these lifestyle choices have opened up to her in other areas, wrapping up with some things viewers may want to consider in exchange for greater freedom in their own lives.

Here’s Ariel introducing herself:

“Hello! I’m Ariel. I live off grid in a tiny house nestled into the western mountains of Wyoming, a little over 6000 feet above sea level. I split my own wood for heat, carry my water by hand, and attempt to grow as much of my own food as I can between the weather and wildlife here. I enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife that I am surrounded by on a daily basis. As a child, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend much of my free time exploring and playing in the woods. Little has changed now that I’m older, I suppose. I moved to a place with a bigger woods and still enjoy spending my time outside hiking, gardening, and photographing the natural world around me.

“As the eldest of seven children who grew up in a homeschooling family I had the opportunity, not always appreciated at the time, to learn to do quite a bit of work. I’ve enjoyed a wide range of jobs, everything from greenhouses and flower arranging to wilderness therapy with teens, to milking cows. Mostly, I enjoy doing the kinds of things that I think provide a real service or value to others. Some of my other hobbies include backpacking, hosting people, cooking, preserving food, anything to do with nutrition, skiing, bouldering, reading, journalling, and sitting around a fire and talking to my close friends.”

We welcome Ariel to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley, and our viewers to this week’s program!

Related Links:

What did you think? Let’s hear from you!

Share with us your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of this meeting page! If you have questions for Ethan, feel free to ask in the comments!

Upcoming Program Schedule

All of our guest speakers and programs are recorded live online over Zoom video conference. We welcome members and guests to join us in one of these upcoming recordings. Recordings are approximately 30 minutes long and are subject to change without notice.

Upcoming Weekly Programs:

 Week of Host Guest Speaker  Topic
 Week of 12/25/2017 Rushton Hurley Steven McGriff Uncovering Creative Confidence in Education
 Week of 1/1/2018 TBA TBA TBA
 Week of 1/1/2018 TBA TBA  TBA

Upcoming Recordings:

If you would like to join us for any of the live recordings, you are welcome to join us. Our online video conference room link for these recordings is always https://zoom.us/j/5104080000. Please note the timezone for all recordings are listed for San Francisco, California, USA time (Pacific Time).

You’re Almost Done! One last thing: The Attendance Survey…

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done. First, we have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

More importantly, for all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment below in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Fill out my online form.
  • Ariel, thank you. If I could go back in time to when I was near your age (currently in my 60s) I’d consider doing as you have done. Being able to get off the treadmill known as the “rat race” gives your life a fresh perspective. You give hope to many who may find themselves in a similar situation. Thanks, Roger, for finding Ariel and asking her to share with us.

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      I’m glad you enjoyed the talk and do hope I can inspire people of any age to take a real look at their goals and priorities.


  • Rory Olsen


    Thank you for an entertaining and informative program.

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You are very welcome!


  • Ariana Fishkin

    Ariel – thank you for sharing your experience in such an interesting program.

    As for the lunch club snippet, I wish something like this existed when I was in high school. Having gone to 4 different high schools, I understand that feeling of isolation and I’m glad to see young leaders taking the initiative to make a difference for those people!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You are welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Yvonne Kwan

    LOVE the Lunch Club video! What a cool concept and great way for young people to engage in inclusiveness.

    Ariel, thank you for enlightening us about living in a tiny house! I’ve always heard about them and seen them, but being able to hear about what it’s like to actually live in one was so interesting. I have a lot of respect for you in the decision that you have made to reduce your cost of living and how you have focused on what’s truly important in your lifestyle. Thank you!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Wonderful! If you are interested in learning more about the day to day life and all the ups and downs of this lifestyle, please check out my youtube.com/fynyth channel or my blog at FyNyth.blogspot.com. 🙂

  • Tzviatko Chiderov

    Ariel, thanks so much for making us all think about living our everyday lives a little differently.
    This past weekend I had a video chat with Roger and he mentioned your upcoming presentation, so I’ve really been looking forward to it! Thanks for an inspiring presentation.
    Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s important to me in life and how I can be in more control over doing the things I want to do. Like you, I think keeping expenses low can open all sorts of additional possibilities. I’ve realized there are few physical possessions I value more than the extra space and peace of mind that comes without them. I’m also in my early 30’s and I think I’ll be researching minimalism and your kind of lifestyle more as I go on my own journey to figure out how I want to build my life.

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      That is encouraging as I don’t see many people in our generation (or most others) thinking about those things. Best wishes as you work toward figuring out and then making your own dreams happen!

  • Megan Breyer

    Ariel, your tiny house is beautiful! I’ve long been fascinated by the style of living and this is a much more honest perspective than you get on reality tv 🙂 So happy to hear how much freedom it’s given you!

    Feeling blessed to have this Rotary family at all times of the year – I hope you all have safe travels, and a relaxing winter season ahead.

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Wonderful, showing real life is my main goal! If you are interested in learning more about the day to day life and all the ups and downs of this lifestyle, please check out my youtube.com/fynyth channel or my blog at FyNyth.blogspot.com. 🙂

  • Ariel, I love how you challenge assumptions about the way life “should” be. Great job finding a path that allows you to explore what you’re passionate about. Mitty, thanks for finding that video about the We Dine Together Club at the school in Florida. Every school needs a club like that.

    I’ll add a picture from the recent trip to Japan. Thanks, Ferheen, for sharing the shot from lunch, and thanks to Nate for giving me the chance to meet all your cool students! This one is of tako yaki (octopus bits fried in a batter) that is infused with green tea (an unusual way to do it, but the town I was in, Uji, is famous for its tea), and the Japanese mayonaise on it also has green tea in it. A seriously When in Rome moment.


    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Thanks for having me as a guest Rushton!

  • Leanza Tupfer

    The Lunch Club.. A great social enterprise (and a much more friendly alternative to The Fight Club!) to include more people at school and build friendships all around.

  • Carey Lai

    Ariel, Thank you very much for your informative presentation. The pictures that you posted on http://arielcelestephotography.zenfolio.com/ are amazing.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! =)

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the photography!

  • If I had to summarize this session I will say that it has been about “the human touch” and “the aim for freedom”. I think what these kids in Florida are doing send us a strong message about the importance of reaching out to the other ones, and when I think of this, I cannot avoid remembering the lyrics of a song by Alberto Cortez who sings that we are always “the other ones” of “the other ones”, putting a face and a little of sentiment while reaching other people always helps to understand “the other ones” and to understand ourselves. Now, the aim for freedom is a goal that is deeply embedded in most of us and a principle that has been the solid foundation of such a great country as it is the United States of America. Aiming for freedom and opening our hearts and minds to understand “the other ones” appears to be a wonderful though that I want to embrace while wishing all of you that the good feelings of this season live always with you and your loved ones.

  • Nathan Gildart

    Ariel, that was a great presentation. Thank you. I think you’re absolutely correct in that people should seek the path they wish to follow and actively seek their own happiness. Although I do love my teaching career, I worry little about “keeping up with the Joneses” and do the things I want to do rather than be tied down to a single place. These are the kinds of things I think we need to emphasize in schools, especially in today’s economy. (in the industrialized world, at least) You’re setting a great example.

    I love the Great Big Story and yet again was inspired to tweet it out!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You are welcome! I just want to be able to inspire people to no thoughtlessly waste their lives on things they don’t even care about. 🙂

  • Andrew Taw

    Ariel, Thank you for an inspiring presentation!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You are welcome!

  • Mark Dohn

    Ariel, thank you for such a great presentation! I’m going to echo almost everyone with the theme of how you are focused around quality of life and what success looks like to you personally, rather than society’s definition. Being exposed to people who challenge conventional thought, I believe, is a critical aspect of continuing to grow and learn in this ever-changing world. This meeting and our Rotary club have certainly done that for me by bringing you to us. Thanks again!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Thank you for your kind words! Best wishes in pursuing your own goals in life.

  • john lozano

    Ariel, thank you for your presentation. I recently heard more about the Tiny House options and think it is such a great idea. I would agree that quality of life is so much more important especially after having grown up in the fast paced Silicon Valley. In the documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, I discovered the beauty of simplifying things and living a life with purpose. Great work!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You are welcome! I think that documentary does bring up many of the same things I try to share with people. Best wishes on your journey!

  • Ferheen Abbasi

    Ariel, thank you very much for your presentation!! Watching your presentation reminded me of the tiny houses for the homeless project. And, as I get ready to move back to the US from Japan, it makes me realize how much easier my life would have been if I had been more… minimalistic! 🙂 I have too much stuff!!!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You’re welcome! Yeah I’m not against stuff if it’s useful, but I think many of us in the modern world of plenty, have allowed ourselves to become slaves to our things instead of our things helping us. Good luck with your move!

  • Brett Sham

    What a cool video about the lunch club. Those kids are demonstrating such mindfulness for people so young that many of us could learn from.

    Ariel, your home looks so quaint and beautiful!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Thank you!

  • Angela Hoang

    Thanks for talking to us Ariel, I loved your tiny house! Just goes to show that you don’t need a lot to be happy, I think sometimes we worry ourselves too much on material things and ‘getting ahead’ when really we should be appreciating that less can be more.

    On a side note I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and enjoys time with their loved ones, it’s been a pretty full on year for many people so it should be nice to relax and enjoy Christmas from wherever you are in the world!!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You’re welcome! Yeah I’m not against stuff if it’s useful, but I think many of us in the modern world of plenty, have allowed ourselves to become slaves to our things instead of our things helping us.

  • Raquel D. Juncal

    Ariel, thank you for sharing your experience with us! We definitely must pay more attention to what we consider quality of life!

    Merry Christmas guys! 😀

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      You’re very welcome!

  • Roger Plested

    Ariel, thank you again for your presentation. The issue for the 21st century for those people under the age of 30 is the cost of housing. The baby boomer generation has made two basic mistakes in their lifetime: first they have started and continued a trend of ever larger houses, much greater in size than they really need and second,they have implemented rules and regulations, which have a huge cost associated with them, to make the overage cost of housing prohibitive for the upcoming generation. The people under 30 will have to look at alternative housing, just like Ariel has.

    Attending a lunch room at lunch time in a school has always been a good indicator of the values taught in the school. I am glad to see that some schools are addressing this issue.

    For every one, i wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Ariel C. McGlothin

      Thanks for contacting me Roger! I agree that a lot of the cost burden with most housing is due to ridiculous rules and regulations that sadly are in place across much of the country.

  • Steven Shags Shagrin

    Wow! Great meeting and program.


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Copyright Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley 2015-2017, located in Rotary District 5170 in the sunny Silicon Valley of California, USA. Rotary International club #86428. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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