Monday, December 22, 2008

Barter accomplished, neigbhor culture pondered

My grandparent's house in Seattle provided me my understanding of neighborly behavior. They seemed to know all of their neighbors--a visit to their home would also often mean a visit to the neighbor's. One had a huge Great Dane and a carp pond in the back yard. Another neighbor provided treats on most visits. They would loan garden tools, get a cup of sugar, exchange Christmas cards. I thought neighborly living was a lost art. I don't remember good neighbors outside of my grandparents neighborhood.

My life in South Dakota revived my memories. I don't know if neighborliness is a South Dakota quality, or if neighborliness is like politics and real estate--depends on the local situation. My mother thinks her neighbor is a quack and keeps one eye open. My dear wife and I are blessed to have some fabulous neighbors. Saturday night I squatted at their home for a little poker game, shared a six pack of beer and some snacks. No planning of a poker party--only a simple get together. This morning, we practiced a little barter--a gallon of milk (I seem to know where to buy cheap milk) for a package of THE BEST BACON. (Sidenote: supposedly artisan bacon is all the rage, but the Hutterites in South Dakota were making artisan bacon before artisan bacon was artisan bacon). I don't really like bacon all that much. I was a vegetarian for 6 years. But that is good bacon. We get together for a cocktail here, a meal there, a talk while standing in the driveway...they have mowed our lawn, shoveled our snow, watched our children. We have tried returning the favor at times, but we have received the better end of the deal.

Whenever we move, we will never have better neighbors.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Eskimos supposedly have several words for snow. Pacific Northwesterners have several words for rain. In an unrelated item television newswriters and newscasters in South Dakota only have one word for prison--"behind bars."

I find it curious that people spend so much time worrying about the weather, something over which they have no control. I complain and rejoice about the weather--but I don't worry about it. Since moving to the Northern Great Plains, I discovered my mother and grandmother perpetuated a myth that to which I held tightly until my relocation: "It's too cold to snow." I remember days when it would drop to polar conditions, say 25 degrees, and Mom would say, "too cold to snow." I suppose snow happens so infrequently in the Northwest lowlands, that it seems like only perfect conditions produce the white stuff.

As I went for my run this morning, I thought about the 2 degree weather (a warm morning these days) and thought about the forecast for another 2-4 inches in the 12 degree temps this afternoon. I wonder what kind of myths I'm feeding my own children?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Signs of being a veteran father...

"You kids get off my lawn!"

"Can you turn that music down?!?!? It's too loud!"

"Whoa, it's past 930! Time for bed..."

I discovered that I have begun worrying about fashion for my five year old daughter. It's hard for me to let my daughter wear jeans--they're too low cut. Forget worrying about a muffin top. I have to worry about the "coin slot." I thought it was her body shape, but I think the jeans are really the issue here.

Call me old fashioned (?) but I shouldn't have to worry about this for my five year old. Maybe I should invest in some Nutrogena for a stocking stuffer...