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Where We Live
Old 05-13-2011, 02:40 PM   #1
Jen
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P2 and I were taking over Sooz' Most Excellent Retirement Thread with this stupid [yes, it is] argument about who lives in the least populated area.

Which, I concede, P2 and Sans definitely do!

But the discussion about landscapes- and/or civic-scapes- does interest me a lot. I've lived in a few very different-from-each-other places in my life, and the function of the land/ people/ towns/ dynamics/ traffic/ etc. on our lives is something I've spent a lot of time watching as a painter of landscapes and street scenes and whatnot.

SO.

Let's talk about where we live [those of us who don't mind talking about such], mmkay?

P2 made the point that there are 2.something million people in Kansas, making it far and away more populous than SD. Can't argue w/ that.
But... Most of those people live in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka, and Manhattan. The larger towns. The smaller farming communities are ghost towns, for the most part, and the landscape is dotted with abandoned farms [full of things like abandoned 50s pickup trucks, etc, btw][GOD I wish I had money!!!]... Just yesterday Matt and I were discussing [again] the idea of buying the town's abandoned Cafe [here a cafe is the equivalent of a small diner, not like a regular cafe]. The asking price for the building? $1000. It needs some repairs, etc, but they would only add up to about another couple thousand. I just question [as does he, today] the idea of getting involved in yet another project right now, not to mention having to sink money into it with no guarantee of return.
But be that as it may, Ramona is a pretty empty place. We have 94 people, at last count. It's pretty much a ghost town during the day- everybody works elsewhere, and the kids are bused to the central school.
I kind of love the fact that Maggie totally freaked out the first time she went to Salina [44 miles away- we finally clocked it yesterday], because she was so used to barking at EVERY car that passes the house... She was totally lost when she saw actual traffic!
So there's a significant amount of empty landscape out here, dotted with small population centers. "Traffic" doesn't exist- I'm used to NY traffic, remember. Even the bigger towns don't know what it is, really.
Cows outnumber people at least ten to one [probably more than 100 to one].
The population is aging, and there are empty school buildings in many of the small towns- the other night the Lost Springs town council was discussing what to do with their empty elementary school.
Freight trains come through Ramona several times a day/night, and because there are two at-grade crossings in town, not to mention a siding, there are times when you can't enter the town because a train is parked there [generally for longer than they're supposed to be], and they are required to toot their whistles three times for every crossing [Matt thinks it's supposed to be "two longs and a short", but isn't quite sure].
We're a few blocks from the tracks, but the sound doesn't really register any more- in fact it's kind of nice in the middle of the night, hearing that train whistle and the rumbling cars- just like the old blues songs.
I love the people- very down-to-earth, unaffected, quietly connected. I love the towns, they're beautiful in the same ways that Van Gogh's paintings of boots are- worn-in and well-used, with dust in the creases [and some of the people here resemble their towns]. I love the landscape- enormous, with rolling hills fading away into the sky, which comes down to the earth. The sky is just incredible- all the time- there's always something amazing happening. One night we were out driving and the fog came down to 7' above the road, in every direction, and it looked like a science fiction movie. Matt just laughed at me- it freaked me out. Usually there are so many stars you can't begin to deal with it- I just stare up there like a turkey about to drown in the rain. And the earth is five or six different shades of green everywhere you look in the spring and summertime, with lakes and streams and ponds everywhere, or every shade of gold to brown in the wintertime.
What about your environment do you love/hate? Put it here.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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I live in a small city. But, it doesn't feel like a city. I guess maybe a town would describe it better. Somehow, it never feels crowded - or dense unless there is a special event going on (like this weekend; the Hot Rods and Harley show will be happening on Main Street).

There isn't anything special about it. It's very blue collar, like many others in New Jersey. We have a very large concentration of parks, 10 in fact. Considering that it isn't a rural area, we are really lucky to have that much outdoor space in such a small area. Plus, the Rahway river runs right through out town (much to the consternation of residents as it has caused flooding issues through the years so severe at times that the town had to buy up homes along it's banks to turn into parkland and relocate the owners!). The river is gorgeous, and has an abundance of wildlife in and around it.

My town has the misfortune of having people think that the local prison resides in it's city limits - which it does not. The mailing address was in town, but the actual prison was in the neighboring town (I think because the two towns used to be affiliated). This, pisses us locals off greatly since it gives the town a bad reputation which it does not deserve. They finally changed the name of the jail, but it doesn't have seemed to have helped much.

What I have found since living here, about 3 years now, is it has some very charming areas; a lot of historic homes from the late 1700's and early 1800's (including my 95 year old money pit haha!). George Washington even passed through our city, and drank at the Merchant and Drover's Tavern, which is now a historic landmark (and some asshole drove his car into the corner of the building about a year ago, it was so badly damaged structurally they still haven't quite figured out what to do about it *sad face*).

It is relatively quiet, and the people are friendly and unassuming. It's also very walkable - I could, if I chose to, easily walk to the town center from my house. In a pinch of my car broke down I could get to the train no problem (in fact, we can hear the train rather well from our home when it is still and quiet). We are centrally located to all kinds of go0d shopping including being very close to a major mall (which I avoid like the plague but, it's good to have nearby). I'm even close to a Parkway entrance lol (those of you from NJ and NY will laugh at that).

We have a few really good restaurants in town, just enough to make it interesting. Unfortunately - not very good local shopping, you do need to go out of the area to actually go to a grocer - but that's only like a mile or so, not a big deal.

I have found the police, fire department and other officials I've come in contact with to all be really nice and down to earth people. I feel very much at home here. More so than I've felt in any other town I've lived in for many years. I feel a connection here, a desire to actually know what is happening and I'm concerned about the state of affairs surrounding me here. It's like I finally feel "settled".

Overall, I think we made a good solid choice to live where we do. It suits our way of life.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:53 PM   #3
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I want to move to Canada. Problem is Canada is too cold. Can someone move Canada to just west of Maui. Oh and then marry me so I get citizenship. please? find then. be that way...

I live in a used up industrial area, urban, smelly. My ambition is to get away from here as soon as possible. I can reach out and touch the neighbors house from my window. I hate that.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Oh don't even fill my head with such wonderful things. I would turn it into a vegan/ veggie restaurant supplied by local food so fast the town wouldn't be able to resist
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Where we live is a sea of strip mall after strip mall. Suburb after suburb. There are a few notable couple mile stretches scattered around with all local businesses. Where we live is miles from any of them.

I hate it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:30 PM   #6
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We have a few really good restaurants in town, just enough to make it interesting.
THAT is something I am extremely not-fond of out here. The food sucks. Not the food at home, of course, but there are no good restaurants [we tried several last year when we first arrived, pre-kitchen].

People have unadventurous palates to the point of criminally boring, hereabouts. Pizza Hut and the Chinese Buffet is considered exotic fare. Although the Tex-Mex rocks hereabouts, nobody much knows a thing about sushi. And I'll betcha a quiche would scare most of them.

When we were half-arguing about opening the cafe yesterday, I was talking about baked goods and pre-fab stuff- kind of like The Bakery back in New Paltz, where you could get a decent meal besides the baked goods in the form of pasta salads, sandwiches, etc- but it wasn't a restaurant w/ short-order cooking per se.

Matt was saying, "Well, if it doesn't have hamburgers, nobody's going to come there. And people here don't EAT salads or any of that fancy stuff. Nobody's going to want a croissant around here."

That's no fun, imo.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:40 PM   #7
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I want to move to Canada. Problem is Canada is too cold. Can someone move Canada to just west of Maui. Oh and then marry me so I get citizenship. please? find then. be that way...

I live in a used up industrial area, urban, smelly. My ambition is to get away from here as soon as possible. I can reach out and touch the neighbors house from my window. I hate that.
I miss the cold.. You can have all the kansas heat you want I do not like it. I melt
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:45 PM   #8
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I grew up in a house on a lake, and in the summers we often spent the weekends at another place on another lake. It is a Minnesota thing - it isn't supposed to make sense.

I loved where I grew up because the lake was in our backyard, we had lots of room in the front yard, privacy from hedges, and close to many riding stables and a railway that had been converted into a bridle path. Our lake cabin was in the woods, on the edge of a fairly undeveloped lake, and it was great for exploring and seeing wildlife.

Now I live close to a lake and fairly close to a second one. There's lovely places to run and a wonderful public facility to people watch and get some refreshments. My neighborhood has an exceptional number of old, tall trees, and it is beautiful because of it. I wish, however, there were sidewalks. But I can easily walk to several grocery stores and shops, run a few miles to have lunch with a friend, or use my sister's car and take my niece and nephew to several great public playgrounds. There's also a university and many colleges in the area.

Despite the colder weather up there, I wish I were back in the Twin Cities. But this is a decent place to live.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:45 PM   #9
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Yeah, I still have some getting-used-to to do on the heat factor.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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THAT is something I am extremely not-fond of out here. The food sucks. Not the food at home, of course, but there are no good restaurants [we tried several last year when we first arrived, pre-kitchen].

People have unadventurous palates to the point of criminally boring, hereabouts. Pizza Hut and the Chinese Buffet is considered exotic fare. Although the Tex-Mex rocks hereabouts, nobody much knows a thing about sushi. And I'll betcha a quiche would scare most of them.

When we were half-arguing about opening the cafe yesterday, I was talking about baked goods and pre-fab stuff- kind of like The Bakery back in New Paltz, where you could get a decent meal besides the baked goods in the form of pasta salads, sandwiches, etc- but it wasn't a restaurant w/ short-order cooking per se.

Matt was saying, "Well, if it doesn't have hamburgers, nobody's going to come there. And people here don't EAT salads or any of that fancy stuff. Nobody's going to want a croissant around here."

That's no fun, imo.
We have more than our share of fast food, however, in town, there are about 4 really decent places (this in a town that is only about 1 mile or so square). One, really wonderful fancy Italian place, one new American cuisine in a renovated historic home across from the train station, a very good Cuban place, and an Irish bar that serves really great food (they know us really well in there lol). Also just opened is a nice Portuguese coffee/pastry shop. Then there is Nancy's which is a bar/Italian which has the freaking best think crust pizza in the whole world and is so kitschy inside; it's wonderful. A couple of really decent pizzerias and Chinese places round it out. So, not so bad at all.

But I hear ya about opening a cafe. It's always been a half-assed dream of mine too. Unfortunately, I always got scared off by having to deal with the realities of the possibilities of long hours, the health department, problematic staff, waiting for it to take off to really make money and all else. Both Ghosty and my ex thought I could really make a go of it, but pfft now I'm just too tired for it. And frankly, this job pays me far too well to sit on my ass anyway so there's little incentive any longer ROFL.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:55 PM   #11
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We live in the suburbs of Atlanta. When I first came to Atlanta, I lived in Inman Park, an intown collection of historic gingerbread Victorian homes that was being revitalized. That's where I met hubby, and we lived there two years.

Then we moved to our first house, which was farther out, but still inside the perimeter. There's where we raised our two kids till they were five and seven.

Then we moved here. It is a town of its own, outside the perimeter, but still tied to Atlanta. And as I explained once to Richie, you would not know any dividing lines were anywhere, insofar as Atlanta is just city that goes on and on and on.

We moved here for the schools, which I scoped out before I even went house hunting. Once I knew the elementary school I wanted my kids to go to (plus second choice, and a third one I didn't like it as well, etc.), we looked at houses that fed into that school, and bought one.

We're lucky to have this house.

It was built in 1970 and is one of those modern, wooden ones, with sloping roofs and all kinds of windows, big ones, tall rectangular ones, even an octagonal one. This was not my idea of a dream house at all - I don't even like "contemporary" houses - but it was the cheapest one in the area.

There are many other neighborhoods all around us which are a lot more expensive.

When we moved in I was astounded how flimsy it was in comparison with the solid brick and wood 50's house we moved from. When the neighbors - who are not close - slammed a door, the pictures would rattle on the walls!

Anyhow, I got used to it, and now enjoy all the windows, and the high ceiling in the living room and all that. I'd probably feel claustrophobic back in a normal house!

The best part, though, is where it is. It sits on somewhere between 1-1/2and 2 acres, at almost the end of a cul-de-sac, surrounded by all kinds of pine trees and dogwood and other trees. So it's like being in the woods.

(My mother observed at the time, "The land is worth more than the house.")

The living room ceiling is brown wood with beams, and the fireplace is stone, and so forth, so it even has a cabin-y sort of feel, in the woods.

It sits on a hill a long ways back from the street. There is a creek that runs through the land of the house next door, just almost to ours, then goes under the street and continues across the street.

And a wooden treehouse playset in the back yard, that has seen better days now. (When my then five-year-old first laid eyes on the house, she said, "Mommy, can I go pway on the pwaygwound?")

It is quiet. At night, it is still and dark and quiet, and I absolutely luxuriate in that.

Yet it's close to a hospital, and movie theaters, and all that sort of stuff. You just leave the neighborhood, drive a coupla miles, and there it all is!

And pretty close to a really good recreation center, where my kids took swimming every summer and other affordable classes.

So this has been and is heaven for me. The only problem is the two flights of stairs (it is split-level) which get harder and harder to do, and the tall stairs up to the doors. One of these days one of my knees is gonna flat-out go out on me without me being able to catch it.

Probably while I'm lugging things around from the garage.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:56 PM   #12
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P.S. About the trains - I love the sound of trains. When we were camping, there were trains not far off that came all day and half the night, and I loved listening to them.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:02 PM   #13
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Coco - I hear you about the knees. I can't believe I purchased another house with 2 stories. I swore I wasn't going to do that. And I did. So stupid. Thankfully the stairs aren't steep but still...
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:06 PM   #14
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My husband has been insisting for several years now that the house we retire to is not going to have stairs.

Me, being short, I love being up high like we are in this one, so I've been saying NOOOOOOOOOOO.

During this last year, though, I decided he was right. No question about it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #15
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My husband has been insisting for several years now that the house we retire to is not going to have stairs.

Me, being short, I love being up high like we are in this one, so I've been saying NOOOOOOOOOOO.

During this last year, though, I decided he was right. No question about it.


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Old 05-13-2011, 06:46 PM   #16
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Those things are great for
a. the grandkids to play on.
b. to run up with the laundry basket on it.
c. to use for their actual use.

In that order.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:03 PM   #17
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P2 and I were taking over Sooz' Most Excellent Retirement Thread with this stupid [yes, it is] argument about who lives in the least populated area.

Which, I concede, P2 and Sans definitely do!
We win!

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We're a few blocks from the tracks, but the sound doesn't really register any more- in fact it's kind of nice in the middle of the night, hearing that train whistle and the rumbling cars- just like the old blues songs.
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P.S. About the trains - I love the sound of trains. When we were camping, there were trains not far off that came all day and half the night, and I loved listening to them.
I hear the train a comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on
But that train keeps a rollin' on down to San Antone...



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I grew up in a house on a lake, and in the summers we often spent the weekends at another place on another lake. It is a Minnesota thing - it isn't supposed to make sense.
"Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Lakes." I thought everybody in Minnesota lived on a lake.

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Old 05-13-2011, 07:16 PM   #18
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i live in a big assed city. with the worst traffic in the us.

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Old 05-13-2011, 07:29 PM   #19
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i live in a big assed city. with the worst traffic in the us.

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But I bet you can find good sushi there.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:36 PM   #20
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:59 PM   #21
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I actually thought further about this, and decided that the best thing to do with an old cafe in an itty bitty town is to turn it into a catering service and delicatessen. I can pre prep a lot of the dishes and freeze them, so I only need to heat what is ordered. The daily special would be made fresh, as well as all of the high end catered food. Steam pans are only for transport, not for serving from
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:41 PM   #22
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We live in a decidedly weird town. It started off as a logging and agricultural town - really just a pinprick on the map, and its redneck roots run very deep. As the surrounding communities grew, it didn't. It's about 30-45 minutes away from Olympia, the state capital, but also a pretty small town in its own right.

That all changed with Ramtha. Really. I said Ramtha. Remeber when all that new age bullshit like wishing on crystals and aligning chakras and listening to windchimes became popular? Shirley McClain went from being a weirdo to...well...she was still a weirdo. At any rate, this woman in town decided she was able to channel the spirit of a long-dead warrior from Aquarius. Actually, she might have decided that she could make a fortune if she convinced gullible rich people that she could do that. Either way, it worked. She formed the School of Enlightenment" where she gives speeches by talking with a funny accent and spouting off fortune cookie types of advice. This plan worked extremely well, and she now owns a huge gated compound just inside of town. She can still pack people in to listen to her particular brand of silliness. What that did was it brought an influx of people who were a) weirdos and b) wealthy. Ramtha apparently reserves his best advice for people who have lots of dough. Go figure.

In order to keep the peace, Ramtha lady poured a ton of money into the community, especially the schools. The rednecks, farmers, churchy people, etc. were a lot quieter about her when their kids were getting scholarships and playing football in a fancy new stadium.

That made things peaceful, but also pretty weird. It also meant that services sprang up to serve these people. We have more salons, day spas, expensive clothes, etc. per capita than I have ever seen anywhere else.

Finally and most recently, Ft Lewis (or Joint base Lewis McChord or whatever they call it now) opened up a back gate making the base accessible from our town very easily, so we've had an influx of military families and the town has grown rapidly.

So - in the same block, you have a tractor parts store, a high-end salon and $8.00 military haircuts.

Plus, for a town of this size, we have interesting restaurant choices. We have the best Mexican and sushi I have had just about anywhere, ever, and we have a really nice high end pizza place. the owners came from Italy and built their own brick oven. The pizza is insane. We have a great Irish pub as well. But on the other hand, we have the worst, filthiest restaurant I have ever been into in my life. This place is a nightmare of a greasy spoon. the floors are black with grime. there is a layer of grease on the windows that you could write you name in with your finger. Cockroaches and other bugs. It's absolutely awful. There isn't much else. A couple of anemic-mom and pop places and the typical fast tfood (McD's, Burger King, etc.) You just don't expect to find really fantastic dining in a city like this, but the good restaurants are killer. The bad ones are abominable. The rest are not worth the gasoline to blow them up. Weird.
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:05 PM   #23
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I've never made a secret of living in Nashville, or rather the suburbs thereof. I am really starting to hate suburbs. Rows of identical ranch style houses and striped lawns. Silly meaningless decorative "shutters" beside every window. Tacky Christmas decorations from October to February. Neighbors wanting to be all up in your business. And the worst - dogs not allowed to run free! Bleh.

Even while living in the suburbs I have adopted a healthier urban lifestyle by walking almost everywhere. It's one mile in the mornings to the bus stop, then in the evenings I get off an extra mile early so I can get in three miles a day and also stop by the produce stand to get fresh produce daily. I can't really buy it in advance because I am single and it goes bad quickly.

Being a Nashvillian gets me a lot of raised eyebrows. I think people expect some kind of illiterate hick instead of the eclectic geek with good diction that I am. I guess it's a stereotype, but one I loathe. I can't even stand country music. "Whiny loser music" I call it.

I do work at one of the most beautiful college campuses in the south though. Too bad my department is run by sociopathic corporate bullies.

There you go. That's where I live.
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:47 PM   #24
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I rather enjoy the sound of the trains in the middle of the night, even the sounds of sirens (police, firetrucks or ambulances) are somewhat comforting. It's the fucking helicopters over the neighborhood that tend to put me into an irrational state of unease. Gotta love living in Los Angeles.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:16 PM   #25
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I rather enjoy the sound of the trains in the middle of the night, even the sounds of sirens (police, firetrucks or ambulances) are somewhat comforting. It's the fucking helicopters over the neighborhood that tend to put me into an irrational state of unease. Gotta love living in Los Angeles.


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Old 05-13-2011, 10:23 PM   #26
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Just outside of Columbia, SC. It's hot and humid here and I miss WA. I grew up on Whidbey Island cause my dad got stationed there with the Navy.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:51 PM   #27
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I've never made a secret of living in Nashville, or rather the suburbs thereof. I am really starting to hate suburbs. Rows of identical ranch style houses and striped lawns. Silly meaningless decorative "shutters" beside every window. Tacky Christmas decorations from October to February. Neighbors wanting to be all up in your business. And the worst - dogs not allowed to run free! Bleh.
That's another thing that's good about my neighborhood. It's full of total recluses.

We knew the neighbors next door, because they had kids, but they moved away once the kids all got in high school.

We met the neighbors on the other side, because they came over once when we first moved in, but they also moved away.

I myself made it a point to try to be friendly with the guy across the street because he was also a friend of friends of ours, but he was reclusive to the point where if you ran across him somewhere (like in the rec center) he would grow almost apoplectic with not knowing what to do about it.

He has since moved, too.

Other encounters with neighbors have been fewer than the fingers on my hands in the 16 years we have lived here.

I like it that way.



P.S. There is a "neighborhood association," and a list of rules for the neighborhood (as old as the neighborhood itself), but you don't have to join. If you want, you can give them money when they ask for it, which is like $75 every few years. (And I do.)

Every few years they (the people who like to be active in the "association") might decide to plant some flowers at the entrance or something, and they might send around a flyer about that.

It's amazing how well everyone gets along without all the association fodderol that plagues the other neighborhoods around here.

-----

Some years ago, part of our wooded area got built on by people forming a small, one-street cul-de-sac neighborhood that had to come in and exit through ours.

I had some consternation (and I imagine many of my fellow recluses did) because they were a considerably richer neighborhood than ours. I was afraid they might to want to fiddle with the association, and wreck things for us.

The neighborhood got a hyphenated name, to accommodate theirs.

But worries were misplaced. All they did was insist on (and pay for) a fancier stone entrance sign that the wooden one we'd had. Since then, they have blended in just fine.

---

Our cul-de-sac is actually a street that simply ends. This always bothered me, fearing that one day it would be extended.

A few years ago another neighborhood moved in, where my street ends (we're the third house from the end), and those houses were 1.5 million dollar homes.

But I was totally thrilled when they ignored our street, and just built a fence and those homes behind it. (They have another exit/entrance.)

So we're tucked back in here nice and good now, with the crickets and the frogs. You can see why I don't want to move.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:03 PM   #28
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I live in an apartment complex near the cusp of a ridge that leads up towards the foothills of the rockies. I'm within sight of a plutonium-polluted resevoir downstream from a former warhead trigger factory. It's windy here. There's no trees!

I grew up surrounded by trees, great old deciduous trees that had grown over generations because the land surrounding my childhood home wasn't great for farming.

It wasn't a glamorous life, growing up. My mom and her former husband bought a camp on the outskirts of Troy, NY in 1963 and converted it (poorly) to a year round residence. It was 5000 and there was never a mortgage. I didn't grow up with much -- her ex husband left us with nothing but a crushing debt when the long arm of the law finally got him, (and people think I'm shitting them when I tell them I was the son of a grifter and a school marm!) my mom invested in strategic purchases like computers for me when my aptitude, interest and the obvious future benefit of them was apparent, but oh! Those trees! Hundreds of acres of woods and meadows began right our property line. A childhood of exploration and adventure was mine, for free.

Most of the trees are gone now, replaced by subdivisons inhabited by people who no doubt wish my mom's dumpy little house was gone.

But it, with it's drafty walls and staircase that took years to master and my memories, endure. When my mom is gone (which will be decades, at 71 she's more vibrant and alive than some 20-somethings I know) they might get their wish -- but it'll cost them dearly. I haven't been compensated for losing those trees.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:29 PM   #29
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edited

Last edited by Vivianne Draper; 09-15-2011 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:11 AM   #30
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I live in a tiny little place that no one has probably heard of. Just 8.175 million residents. If you include whatever "combined statistical area " means, there are 22.2 million residents. 800 different languages spoken.

I've only lived here 7 weeks. I have no car, walk everywhere. Well, except those times when I ride on a bicycle. And those other times when I get on a train and ride to another part of the city to work.

There were five movie theaters within walking distance of my apartment (depending on what someone might consider "walking distance"). All but one closed and have other things in them. One remains and have the worst seats known to man. Tickets are only $9 there though.

Vast majority of the food options seem to involve Arab fare and more Arab fare. I've yet to find a "great" food place, but then I do have about 12,000 different places to try. I did find an outstanding ice cream place. Chocolate chocolate chip. Course I can't really eat chocolate any longer so ... let's move on.

If I still had car it would ... well, there really is no parking here. Really overcrowded with cars. was going to say if had car had access to a ton of good/great places to visit. Some of these restaurants are supposedly 24/7, though I have not attempted to see if that is true or not. The bars have live music, though I have yet to figure out when that actually occurs. I've seen signs in window, then I see the sign gone and realize I missed the live music (or I ride past on bike and realize that bar has live music, but I on bike).

This time next year I might have mastered this place. Plays, museums, parks, restaurants (wish some of those places near work were near apartment).

All the walking makes me really really tired, impacts things like this here.

Here is a picture of my city:

While I had visited other locations, including New York, I had lived my entire life in just one state, vast majority of it in one location. About 5.6 million people live in the metro area. Worked in the city, lived in the suburbs.

Now I work in the city and live in another part of the city. That dancing bacon and the guy lighting himself on fire is distracting me.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:21 AM   #31
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Our cul-de-sac is actually a street that simply ends. This always bothered me, fearing that one day it would be extended.

A few years ago another neighborhood moved in, where my street ends (we're the third house from the end), and those houses were 1.5 million dollar homes.

But I was totally thrilled when they ignored our street, and just built a fence and those homes behind it. (They have another exit/entrance.)

So we're tucked back in here nice and good now, with the crickets and the frogs. You can see why I don't want to move.
You aren't, by chance, in Douglasville, are you? My daughter Angel and her (now ex-) husband lived in Douglasville in 2003 in an addition that sounds a lot like what you're describing; I went to see them for Christmas 2003. It was a beautiful place.

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Old 05-14-2011, 07:47 AM   #32
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My little rental property of bliss. Tiny town of around 800 people, but we are only about half an hour away from some of the best beaches Queensland has to offer. Not too far from anything you need, yet far enough away to please me. I love this hinterland. Small community, wonderful people.

Picture is a bit blurry, but the two green rounds to the right are actually dams, so the water birds are amazing, all the wildlife here is wonderful.

I wish I could buy it.

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Old 05-14-2011, 08:57 AM   #33
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I actually thought further about this, and decided that the best thing to do with an old cafe in an itty bitty town is to turn it into a catering service and delicatessen. I can pre prep a lot of the dishes and freeze them, so I only need to heat what is ordered. The daily special would be made fresh, as well as all of the high end catered food. Steam pans are only for transport, not for serving from
If you had seen Kitchen Nightmares last night Gordan Ramsey would beat you with a wooden spoon for even considering freezing food and reserving it to customers later. He totally berated a restaurant owner for passing off lasagna as a "special" which had been cooked a week ago, didn't sell well that night, and was frozen to sell a week later.

I tend to agree. Frozen food never tastes as good as when it's served same day; it usually suffers somewhat from the process. I do it at home for convenience sake but I don't know if I'd be happy finding out that a caterer was doing it on a regular basis.

Sorry for the rant - it was fresh in my mind and it's very early in the morning. Jumping off my soap box. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #34
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:21 AM   #35
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My thoughts on the cafe would be: Just keep it simple to start.

Have a few homemade things frozen [like my bierocks, and/or soups, and homegrown veg] available for people to buy to take home.

The nearest convenience store is about ten miles away, and all they have is frozen burritos and chips. The nearest proper grocery is more like 20 miles, and the big supermarket is 44- so I could definitely hook 'em w/ some homegrown convenience foods. In point of fact, all I initially wanted to do is put out a barrow-type stand with a change jar and some bags of veg on the honor system, but Matt feels that some of the less-savory types would make off without honor...

But back to the cafe:
I'd have breakfasts [mainly bacon & eggs and rolls/croissants/etc], one daily lunch special, and [maybe] a limited burger menu for lunches. I'd infiltrate the local taste buds via things like four-cheese quiche and pumpkin pie soup, chicken satay and spring rolls with cilantro-lime dipping sauce, potato-leek soup and curried onion fritters, and etc, and slowly drag them away from the burgers and into the Realm of Adventurous Palates.

If I could manage that? I'd consider running a real restaurant. If I didn't have to wait on customers. But I've worked in food service before, and it is totally not my idea of fun.

I had a very wise restaurant manager once say to me, "There are two times you should never mess with people. One is when they're shtupping, and the other is when they're eating."

And it's true.

Weston, your description reminded me of this song [which is folk, not c/w, so hang in there]:


Trout, your description of the Ramtha lady reminded me of the night a bunch of my psi chick student/clients who'd been after me for years to do similar dragged me to the theater in Woodstock and had me watch "What the Bleep Do We Know", after which they essentially said, "See? you coulda been a contender!" because half the stuff I talk about was covered in that movie [badly]. Which told me that they were more into being hip than really "getting it". I would suck as a guru. I'd be a much better tinpot dictator. Or maybe a New Age Dirt Diva.

Kristian, your discussion of the trees... !

Lexxi, Give it time. NYC is exhausting to VISIT, let alone to live in, and you have to build up stamina to throw more into your life's mix. And if you're any good at rollerblading, you might want to consider buying a pair for when you have to run errands. Far less trudge-time. Geoff swears by them- and Manhattan's a ghost town on the weekends, so it's pretty safe to do. Don't know about navigating weekday sidewalks and/or subways with them on, tho.

Re. everybody's descriptions: Just generally, wow! I'm really loving this thread. All of you are poets in describing your environments, and as a wannabe traveler, I feel like you're giving me juice. It's kind of like second-hand discovery. Thanks for sharing... please keep it coming!
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:32 AM   #36
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You aren't, by chance, in Douglasville, are you? My daughter Angel and her (now ex-) husband lived in Douglasville in 2003 in an addition that sounds a lot like what you're describing; I went to see them for Christmas 2003. It was a beautiful place.

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No, but I imagine there are a lot of places around Atlanta that sound like ours.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:37 PM   #37
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If you had seen Kitchen Nightmares last night Gordan Ramsey would beat you with a wooden spoon for even considering freezing food and reserving it to customers later. He totally berated a restaurant owner for passing off lasagna as a "special" which had been cooked a week ago, didn't sell well that night, and was frozen to sell a week later.

I tend to agree. Frozen food never tastes as good as when it's served same day; it usually suffers somewhat from the process. I do it at home for convenience sake but I don't know if I'd be happy finding out that a caterer was doing it on a regular basis.

Sorry for the rant - it was fresh in my mind and it's very early in the morning. Jumping off my soap box. Just my 2 cents.
What I have been doing at home is prepping- not cooking- meals ahead of time. Two weeks ago I made a TON of enchiladas, but didn't cook them. I just prepped the filling, put it in the tortillas, covered it in sauce, and froze it. We can take out the tins and throw them in an oven for a quick meal

Keeping fresh food fresh is tough when there aren't enough mouths to consume everything while it is fresh. My thinking is that I can prep some things ahead of time, then heat them for the customers. The things I would freeze would all be things that freeze well anyways, of course.

And the special for the day is cooked that day, nothing frozen. If I am running something alone or on a skeleton crew, the less cooking, the better. If all the prep work is done already (since there is only one dish to cook), it can be pulled off effectively. If my specials don't sell, it gets tossed. Isn't it against health code to reheat something you already cooked anyways?

And, of course, everything for the catering would be made from a special menu for the catering, fresh for the event. Mulch and I have talked about catering before, and how we would pull it off. We aren't sure if it would be a better idea to do the kind where we cook in their kitchen, or to make it at home. With a restaurant, I guess the obvious thing would be to make it at the restaurant. Maybe bring a grill for things that are cooked quickly or that were par cooked so I dont have to keep steam pans (I HATE THOSE THINGS!). Remember, no meat! So doing this without steam pans should be doable

My latest idea for catering has been around the idea of taste adventures. I would work one on one with the host to find the general likes and dislikes of the party members, and make a custom menu for them that is mostly a surprise (unless they are a repeat customer who asks for specific favorites!). Pulling inspirations from vegan/ veggie cuisine from all around the world (I am also considering adding a few fish items, as I have a KILLER crab cake recipe I want to share with people ), the recipes would be new takes on things people had before, and things most people have never tried. I would not guarantee that everyone will like everything- that is the point! But it would all be served tapas style, so there will definitely be multiple things everyone WILL like.

Restaurants and catering run in my family, and I grew up helping with and watching both. Mulch and I have been talking a lot about the idea of catering, and he only mentioned it and began to really discuss it over and over again with me after trying my cooking So you can see why the idea gets my brain in naughty places I know just aren't reasonable right now. Which makes me sad But this may not be what my cards have for me. I have really big plans, and a little catering service and delicatessen are wayyyy too small for what I ultimately want to do

The customers could be the guinea pigs for the bigger project, however... I would have time to perfect recipes and test them, plus have people paying me to do it and giving me direct feedback... And if I even have moderate success, I have a little brand name to go off of too that will give me clout and loyalty to kick off the bigger project with a bang... Where I am right now I imagine would be a better market for my idea anyways. High end clients who can afford, understand, and appreciate the high end exotic cuisine I want to serve.



ETA after reading Jen's response; with the waiting on tables. That is a big reason why I nixed the restaurant idea. I do NOT want to do that again. I want to stay safely behind a counter, and people can come to me to get their own damn food, napkins, condiments, etc. And there is an ultimate plan/ goal as to why I would freeze some things and serve it later. Remember; GUINEA PIGS.
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:03 PM   #38
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After reading Jen's post on how she was enjoying the descriptions people were giving, I realized that I really haven't given one. I'm a relative newcomer to the rez, having been here less than four years, but here's my take on it; I'll try to stay away from Dunbarisms.

We live on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, one of over 300 reservations in the United States and one of eight in the state of South Dakota. Today's reservations are a tiny fraction of the size that they were in the late 1800s when the reservation system was first established. To give you an idea what I am talking about, here are the reservations (actually just one big reservation!) in South Dakota as they were established by the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868):



As you can see, the reservation lands made up the entirety of what is now the state of South Dakota west of the Missouri River, plus a portion of what is now North Dakota. In addition, the area marked as "Unceded Indian Territory" which takes up a portion of what are now the states of Wyoming and Montana were still considered the property of the Lakota, and the area in Nebraska, Colorado and a small portion of Kansas that is marked as "Hunting Grounds" is the area where the buffalo herds were plentiful, and the Lakota were to be allowed access to those lands as well to feed their people.

Then in 1874 gold was discovered in the Paha Sapa (Black Hills), and everything changed. The treaty of 1868 was ignored and the territory of the Black Hills seized by the Federal government, and the reservation lands whittled away until today all that is left is this:



The hot pink areas are the remaining reservation lands. The Pine Ridge reservation, at the lower left, is the location of Wounded Knee, where 300 Natives were slaughtered by the U.S. Army in 1890 and where the famous standoff with the FBI and ATF occurred in 1973.

As I said, we live on the Rosebud, located at the lower center of the map. Todd County, SD is home to about 9,000 people, 85% of whom are Native American.

Depending on the source, Todd County is listed as anywhere from the 5th to the 2nd poorest county in the nation, with only Shannon County, SD (located within the Pine Ridge reservation) consistently having the dubious honor of ranking higher.

So what is life like here? It's actually pretty peaceful, to me. As you can imagine, it's very much a rural/small town sort of existence. Our city (it's called a city, but it's smaller than many towns I have been to that decline to use that term) has one stop light, one bank, a couple of gas station/convenience stores, one medical clinic, a Subway, a Radio Shack, an indie drive-in burger joint and a coffee kiosk (actually a trailer).

We're better off than Ramona, Kansas, apparently, as we don't have to drive 20 miles to do grocery shopping; there are actually three grocers in town; one is a mid-sized store owned by a white man that has a chain of three stores, one is a little mom and pop type store that shares space with an Ace Hardware store, and the third is a modern grocery that is owned by the tribe which they built in the last couple of years, but which never has enough cashiers and seems to always run out of the thing you wanted to buy.

Often, however, we will drive to Valentine, Nebraska, 32 miles south, to do major grocery shopping at the IGA store there, as it seems the prices on most items are better. Valentine also has a movie theater (two screens), a McDonald's, a Pizza Hut, a small bookstore, auto dealers, another Subway, another Radio Shack, and several banks. Interestingly, gas prices tend to be higher in Valentine.

For most other things such as clothes shopping, shoes, or general household shopping, it takes a little more of a drive. The state capitol, Pierre, (Peer, not Pee-yare) is about 90 miles away and has a Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and a small mall (nothing to get excited about). Usually, though, we end up going to Rapid City, which is about 180 miles, for the major shopping of that nature. Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and a pretty good mall, as well as many other stores, and our beloved Borders, which DID NOT close. Also several Starbucks.

The one major thing that Rapid City represents for me is the place I have to go if I need any significant medical treatment. There is an Indian Health Services hospital here, but since I am not a tribal member, they won't treat me except for emergencies. I do have a primary care doctor at the local clinic, but that's really only good for minor things. For anything more, it's Rapid City for me, and since I'm a dialysis patient, that's pretty frequent.

Our other major city is Sioux Falls, but that's almost 300 miles, so we rarely go there. I wish it was closer, as there is a Guitar Center there.



The town itself is both what you'd expect and not at all what you'd think -- several housing areas with a lot of small, 2 bedroom homes that are referred to as Sioux 400s, all in little rows in various pastel colors. As you can imagine, many of them are in various states of disrepair, because of the poverty level. However, there are also places like ours, on land outside of the town itself, most on a couple of acres of land, with just a few neighbors. That makes it very peaceful out here.

One of the great things about this little town is the tribal college located here that is striving to make a difference in people's lives. As with anything, there are a few people involved that don't need to be working there, but for the most part, the staff and the students are really good people.

Sans and I have a dream and a plan to basically pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, as the saying goes, and get our own place; we had originally tried to apply for tribal housing, and found that we made just a little too much to qualify. My feeling is that's fine as I really have no interest in living in what amounts to a rent house. I want a place that we can do with as we please -- to borrow a phrase from Jen, a "Little House on the Rez."

It'll happen.

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Old 05-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #39
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Kita, re. the catering, etc.
In New Paltz there are people making quite a nice living by going to wealthy-but-clueless peoples' houses and cooking 7 "homemade" reheatable dinners for the week, stacking them into the fridge/freezer, and going on to their next client. I know about the service because I helped to put a $75,000 kitchen into a $2 million house and found out the wife couldn't even cook brownies from a mix []
She hired one of these services to come in to make suppers for her family [four kids- with a nanny]. They brought the groceries, too. So essentially they were a family cook service being outsourced- did menu planning, etc online, picked up the goods, brought it to the place, stowed it, and got reimbursed for time/receipts.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:20 PM   #40
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To add to what Trout said:



We live within walking distance of the original center of town, which is to the lower left of this picture. Behind our house is a huge field, currently populated by 5 cows, and then a creek which overflows every year. We were worried that it might come up to our yard this last year, but we were lucky.

Unfortunately for all the local businesses, a WalMart superstore (sorry Kita) moved in a few years ago. It's slowly sucking the life out of the little guys, and creating a long strip mall in its wake, full of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC (all owned by Yum! corp) etc.
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