In the neighborhood
... This morning it was chilly enough so that my wife fired up the wood stove -- a first for the season. We try to hold back as long as possible on lighting a fire: Once begun, it is hard to stop feeding the
... Today, my son starts his first part-time job, a job he got himself at a local retail outlet. I am happy and proud: A first job, whether early or late, is a step with substance to it. Relying on others fades a bit as fade it must.
... In an era when economics pinch and decent jobs seem hard to come by, Midland, Texas, which is enjoying an oil boom with the rest of Texas, is so short of labor that it has even offered signing bonuses to fast-food workers, according to the Nightly Business Report I saw the other night and cannot re-find in order to provide a link.
Of course not everyone is willing to get dirty doing a job, and jobs that require sweat are not as plush as the middle class, cubicle-prone professions that evaporated in the midst of banking and stock-swapping frenzies, still, work is work and until wealth is redistributed more equitably, putting spaghetti on the table has its allure.
... My neighbor Joe and I chatted a bit yesterday, standing in the street that divides our houses as we sometimes do. He had been to Dana-Farber, a high-profile hospital in Boston, and they had done a DNA test to try to nail down what sort of leukemia Joe has. Turns out that he has markers for both a fast- and slow-growing leukemia so it's a matter of "watchful waiting." I told him that a friend had complained earlier in the day, "Getting old sucks. I think I'll take up another hobby." And we both laughed. Joe had to break off the conversation because he needed to get to the dump before it closed: He's keepin' on keepin' on at the moment.
... An email from a local college student asked about coming by in aid of a paper she had to do on the ethnography (or some similarly polysyllabic word) of Buddhism. It seems a bit strange, but when anyone asks a question about Buddhism or wants me to do something to help out, there is an imperative within that seeks to comply. "Imperative" in the same gotta-do-it way that I breathe. I may feel grumpy about it, but there is, somehow -- no other option than to say "yes." What's up with that?
... From two houses away, Claudia's free-range chickens have taken to ranging through the neighborhood. There are perhaps six of them, each, it seems, a different species and all as plump and strong and perfectly-proportioned as if they were posing for a centerfold picture in Playboy. Once upon a time, it was the neighbor's dog that might come to visit and sniff. Now, with leash laws, it's chickens. I kind of like it.