The thoughts of a writer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Green Bottle

The green bottle sat empty on the table in the break room—next to the microwave and other assorted break room crap. Its cap lay nearby in case someone wanted to cap its emptiness inside to keep it “fresh.” He almost tossed it into the recycler over two weeks ago—but then resisted; wondering how long it would continue to reside on the table before someone (the original owner perhaps!) would dispose of it.

Then one day the green bottle lay on its side! It had been knocked over or perhaps toppled from sheer exhaustion! Surely someone would dispose of it now!

But no… some kind-hearted soul righted the bottle and once again, it stood proudly; in testament to strength, laziness and downright slovenliness! Long live the empty green bottle he thought! Perhaps some things are enduring! Perhaps there is hope for us all! 


Monday, April 21, 2014

MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Me and my son stopped at the wildlife refuge visitor center Friday morning. He wanted to "go see animals!"

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Easter Weekend

Easter this year was different for me than most. When I was a child, Easter meant going to church and also a basket of goodies from the Easter Bunny! This year the weekend was primarily about a funeral. Since it was a Hmong funeral, it encompassed the entire weekend and with only a few hours of sleep since the overnight ceremonies (click here for more information about Hmong funerals), my wife will join the burial procession on this Monday morning.

Aside from a single Easter, I've learned that there are many differences between my culture and my wife's culture. It has at times, lead to difficulties as I have no good reference point to make sense of 3 to 4 day (and night) funerals, among a lengthy list of other practices. These are heavily ingrained into the traditions, culture and spirituality of these people—who I have come to know as part of my family. A funeral service for me, occurs within a few days (not a month) and the (traditional) service itself (not counting going to the cemetery) takes about an hour. I can't help thinking that the money, time and resources should be utilized for the living—and yet the (traditional) Hmong believe funerals to be among the most important things in life. While I spent only a fraction of the time my wife spent at the ceremonies, I can see that the media, such as the movie Grand Torino, have perpetuated certain inaccuracies about the culture—like when Walt touched a child's head in the movie and created an uproar—because of some asinine idea that it would harm the child's spirit. I witnessed several Hmong people lovingly touch my son's head this weekend and I do not believe such a notion exits anywhere except in some bad Hollywood "facts."

No doubt traditional ceremonies will continue to change (much to the dread of the elders) with new generations. My personal opinion is that this will largely be a good thing. If my family held rigidly to our past practices, I would be wearing Lederhosen and eating fish cured in lye. I'm so glad that went away. I believe shorter, less expensive (as in not requiring a dozen cows to be slaughtered for the occasion), and less work intensive ceremonies would be best in the modern world—as would wives that did not come with a price and polygamy. But of course, this is my own opinion.

A funny thing... by the second day of the funeral, my two-year-old son felt pretty comfortable at the funeral home. He saw that the men all shake hands, so he walked around shaking all of their hands and telling them his name. He walked up to the clan leader (who has a cool dragon shirt) and shook his hand. I think he impressed those guys!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Out-of-Office Reply

Here's a good one you can try!

"I will be out of touch and three sheets to the wind on (insert date). If you need something, try me on (insert date)."

The National Weather Report

The national news is always talking about the weather hardships out east. They only notice in passing that other places have more extreme weather.

Click here for the CuTRis version of how the national weather reports are delivered on the network news.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

OK Weather—I'll Stop Will You?

The past few mornings I've been commenting on the wintry weather here in mid April. So today the temperature is about freezing outside with snow just to the north and a "wintry mix" of rain and snow expected in the Twin Cities today. I give up now. I won't make fun of the weather anymore (this week).

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

19 Degrees F and Spring!

This morning the birds are chirping! The Sun is coming up and it is 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 Celsius)! It is a fine Sprinter morning!


Monday, April 14, 2014

27 Degrees F

Winter refuses to let go...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Yesterday in Nature


Yesterday was a sunny and pleasant day. I was amazed that the frogs are calling so loudly already—when the ice just thawed and the water is still so cold.

I also saw a couple of deer—who were as curious about me as I was about them.

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