Show Snovels and Other Trivia


Eugene, Oregon, rarely gets temperatures lower than the mid-twenties (-4 C.) or more than an inch or two of snow accumulation. As I write, my yard contains fourteen inches that fell in the last day and a half, and snow is still falling. The airport is closed, and Amtrak (America's long distance passenger train service) hit a tree forty miles from here, and its passengers were stranded in the train for 36-hours with too little food and heat. Few people own snow shovels, and I even saw one woman clearing her driveway with a round pointed garden shovel.

I didn't even know what a snow shovel looked like (verbal maladroit that I am, you could put a gun to my head, and the term would still come out show snovel) before moving to Minneapolis in October 1988, just in time for the season's first snow. I always enjoyed buying tools, and my fondness for shoveling certainly stood me in good stead, but I would have had to do it regardless in order to get the car out of the driveway and to avoid a fine for letting snow accumulate on my sidewalk. During my two winters there, the Twin Cities (the only thing that separates Minneapolis from St. Paul is the Mississippi River) never had a snow so heavy that it brought life to a standstill. 

Therefore, when I heard Minnesotans whining on the TV recently about the sub-zero cold, I thought they must have turned into sissies because I remembered zero degrees as being almost balmy on sunny, windless days. Sure enough, when I looked up the winter lows during my time in Minnesota, I discovered that in both '88 and '89, the mercury hit -24 F (-31 C.), which wasn't even regarded as noteworthy. In fact, my area of southern Minnesota was called the Banana Belt to distinguish it from the far colder northern Minnesota cities of Duluth and International Falls. Truly, global warming has spoiled Twin Cities' residents if they regard -5 (-21 C.) as cold, although I'm sure that the schnauzer we had back then would agree with them because when I dressed her in her fleece-lined red coat and took her for her daily walks, she would run up to the door of every house we passed in the hope that someone would let her in.

The southern Willamette Valley doesn't do well with heavy snow, and god forbid that we get an ice storm. I live near downtown and had naively imagined that our power would stay on regardless, but a few winters ago, it was out for six days during zero cold (-18 C.), and it was out for four days during another winter (zero being very unusual here). Because I use a BiPAP for severe sleep apnea, power outages are no joke for me, and my potted plants don't think any too well of them either. Fortunately, we have a gas fireplace insert that at least enables the plants to survive and for us to remain in our home (I power my BiPap with a twelve-volt battery).

As I write, many thousands of people are without power, but thankfully Peggy and I aren't among them. We're also fortunate in that we have no place that we have to go because while I think our four-wheel drive car would do fine, I don't want to get salt on it. When I moved to Minneapolis, I was as ignorant of salt as I was of snow shovels, so when I saw trucks scattering sand on the roadways I concluded that the sand was being used instead of salt, but I soon learned that the two are mixed.

Well, here I sit in my cozy home, writing and listening to Vivaldi in the company of my wife and four cats. Life could certainly be worse. I could have a schnauzer that I felt obligated to walk "for her own good" no matter how much she hated it. I still don't know if I did right by that dog, but she came through it okay, finally dying at age seventeen.


PhilipH said...

Wow, what chilly time you're having. In the UK it's been the warmest February on record. Today it's been around 19c (or 66F in old money). Even in bonny Scotland, they're basking in sunshine and it's been like this for a week or so.

Glad you've been spared the power outages; hope it stays that way.

angela said...

Living in a country that only has snow on its highest peaks I really have no idea of how cold that is
If we get a few nights of minus five we think it’s Armageddon lol
As I have two wood fires in my home. I would be fine if it did snow here
I can even cook on one if the power goes out
How’s that for good prepping lol
Stay warm xx

Emma Springfield said...

I live not far from Minneapolis. It has indeed been cold this year. The wind chill factor has made it even colder. After living in Detroit for so long I can say that it does not feel as cold here as slightly warmer temperatures feel there. It has been so long since the temperatures have risen above freezing and I'm tired of looking at snow. However I'll take the cold over hot summers any time.

Winifred said...

Crumbs I can't imagine such severe cold. As Philip said in the UK we're having the warmest February days on record. Had to get the suncream out for my cat with the white ears! Definitely weird but the cold is coming back. We do have snow shoels here but they're plastic so not really meant for the really severe snow.

Wwere you serious about getting fined for letting snow accumulate on your paths?

Take care & hibernate. Nice when you don't have to go out to work.

Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snowbrush said...

"However I'll take the cold over hot summers any time."

I too hate hot weather, but not only did Minnesota have trying winters, it had fairly hot and humid summers. Still, looking back, I wish I had handled the weather better, the truth being that I was under a lot of stress otherwise, and the stress made the weather even more trying. Here, in winter, we get gray skies and drizzle everyday for month, and I really don't know which I would rather have for winter weather, sunny Minnesota or drizzly western Oregon. After all, the average snowfall there was only four feet, which was nothing compared to the twenty or thirty feet that fell further east in Wisconsin. That, I KNOW I wouldn't choose.

"Had to get the suncream out for my cat with the white ears"

Are you sure that it's safe for a cat to ingest sunscreen when he bathes himself?

"Were you serious about getting fined for letting snow accumulate on your paths?'

Yes. If the walkways were constantly being covered by more and more snow, pedestrians couldn't move about. Postmen couldn't run their routes. Rescue workers couldn't reach stricken people in a timely manner, or move them to an ambulance when they did. Gas company employees couldn't find leaks. Meter readers couldn't get to meters. Linemen couldn't reach downed lines. People with walkers and wheelchairs would find it hard to leave their cars. The police would be hampered in doing their jobs. Snow here is so rare that it's not worth making laws about such things, which is partly why a place like Eugene grinds to a halt every time we get more than two inches of snow. People from places like Minneapolis laugh at people in places that aren't prepared to deal with snow, and they especially laugh at how inept many people are at driving in it. I remember having a doctor's appointment (here in Eugene) during a light snow, and when I arrived, I saw a woman in a wheelchair who also had an appointment, but who couldn't reach the door of the clinic because no one had bothered to clear the walkway thoroughly. That kind of thing wouldn't happen in Minneapolis. I'll tell you something that has fascinated here me no end. Most of this city is at around the 400 foot elevation level, but it's largely surrounded by hills that are between 1000 to 3,000 feet high, and there are even parts of town that are above 800, and I've ever been amazed by how often we can look out window and see snow-covered hills without having gotten any snow ourselves. In fact, it's a rare day in winter that we can't see snow on the surrounding hills.

Snowbrush said...

"Take care & hibernate. Nice when you don't have to go out to work."

I feel like such a fool for not clearing my driveway because wouldn't you know it, we had to take one of our cats to the vet today because he get sick last night. Our RAV4 would able to ride atop the snow until it got the street where the angle of the pavement changes, and the car got stuck crosswise to traffic for several minutes (a neighbor helped push it out).

Which is why I live in the beautiful, perfectly perfect deep South. My grass needs mowing, my flowers are blooming,"

If you consider the Southern weather perfect, I rejoice of you. However, grass needed mowing ten days ago, so I mowed it, being careful around the blooming daffodils and crocuses. Hummingbirds were at my feeder. Songbirds were singing. Etc. Marion, I lived in the Deep South, so I know that what is true here is largely true at your latitude in winter, namely that February and March are unpredictable, which means that you too could get a hard freeze in a week or two. What IS predictable where you are is that summer temps will be in the mid-90s with humidity levels to match, that they will be that way everyday for months, and that and thunderstorms and tornadoes will pose a constant danger. Compared to which, summers are far cooler here (and the average winter is no colder here than there), and thunderstorms and tornadoes are almost non-existent (I lived here nearly thirty years before a tornado touched ground). And when it does get hot here, the heat doesn't last. I used to freak out when the temp here hit 90, because I moved here partly to escape the Southern heat, so imagine my surprise when, a few days later, it would be back down in the low 80s or even the 70s. On the other hand, rain rarely falls here in summer, so the grass turns brown, the air is dust-laden, and the trees start losing their leaves. All places have their problems. After not visiting the South for years, I flew down once, and just getting off the plane was an adventure due to the heat and humidity socking me in the face as soon as I walked onto the passageway from the plane into the airport (when you live it such heat, you have no basis for knowing just how bad it is), and the more I saw of the poverty, the more it struck me that the Deep South exists in a state that's not quite Third World, but almost. It even smells different, and while it's not a bad smell, it's strange when you're not used to it.Still, when it's good there, weather-wise, it's really good. I remember well the few hours of respite from the heat that a hurricane provided as it came ashore a hundred miles away, and the beauty and variety of the Southern vegetation is unparalleled. They call the climate where you live subtropical for a reason. No American should live out his or her life and never visit the Deep South because to not see where you are would be like not seeing the Rockies.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

I spent my early years in the Finger Lakes region of New York where we had more snow than Michigan. They had snow fences to keep blowing snow off the roads. I remember snow so deep it was if we were going through a snow tunnels. Also we needed chains on the tires to reach some parts of the small hilly town we lived in. Chains and studded tires are forbidden in Michigan though they do use lots of salt.
When we moved out of the city a few years ago, we needed snow sticks to outline our driveway so we know where it is and a big powerful snow blower. Shovels were not going to do the job. At least we don't have sidewalks any more that we are required to clean. Still I think we have less snow than we did twenty years ago. I used to xcountry ski for exercise almost every day in the winter. I don't think there are so many cross country ski days now. My balance is sort of off since chemo so I haven't replaced my skis. This winter has caused much more than usual days off for the kids but lots of it was due to ice storms and that polar vortex versus just snow. I am tired of winter.

I do remember being stuck on a train due to snow around Buffalo or Rochester when I was very young.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the South


Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snowbrush said...


"Having disposed of the economic arguments, I knew that one question lurked: 'Okay, but what’s it like living with a bunch of slow-talking, gun-toting, Bible-thumping racists?'”

Out of one side of his mouth, the author claims that Northerners are moving South (aka Trump country) in droves, but out of the other, he admits that Northerners view Southerners in extremely negative terms. However, I think there might be truth to his assertion that some industries are moving South (and taking their workers with them), the reason being tax breaks and cheap labor due to the fact that Southern states are desperate for businesses and aren't unionized. I found his claim that his neighbors don't push their religion on anyone to be downright ludicrous given I left the South largely to avoid religious oppression. Also, the South leads the nation in lawsuits by people who are trying to keep local churches, local governments, and state governments, from forcing evangelical Christian representations, ceremonies, and moral values, upon them. The Deep South is dedicated to closing abortion clinics, erecting religious monuments on public property, teaching "Intelligent Design" in schools, forcing school children to pray, inviting preachers to proselytize in public schools, and legalizing discrimination against LGBT. The author apparently wrote in ignorance of these things.

"They had snow fences to keep blowing snow off the roads."

When I saw snow fences for the first time, I could scarcely believe it that they were needed or how high they were.

"Still I think we have less snow than we did twenty years ago."

My first experience with winter in Oregon occurred before we moved here, and consisted of driving between walls of snow higher than the car in order to go skiing on Mt. Bachelor. Back then, the ski lodges nearest Eugene (Hoodoo and Willamette Pass) were open for months, and the higher mountains had glaciers. Now, there are winters when the lodges only open for days, if at all, and the glaciers are melting rapidly, some having disappeared. Likewise, elderly neighbors tell me that the nearby creek used to freeze every year to a depth that allowed people to walk on it. Now it doesn't freeze at all most years, and only has a thin skim other years.

"Chains and studded tires are forbidden in Michigan though they do use lots of salt."

I wish that were true here because they damage the roads. I also hate how noisy studded tires are. They sound exactly like I remember tires down south sounding when they passed slowly over gravel and bottle caps in front of country stores, and it annoys me to hear the same sound in such a different environment and for such a different reason.

Snowbrush said...

"...but it’s HOME, Snow. Please don’t rain on my optimistic parade."

Did you not take me seriously when I wrote, "If you consider the Southern weather perfect, I rejoice for you"? There really are people who LOVE hot weather, so the ones I know get all excited on those rare occasions when it hits 100-degrees here. As a child, I didn't consider the heat oppressive, probably because it was all I knew, there being no other place that I had lived (or even visited), and there being very few air conditioners, even in businesses. You had pecan trees, my town had magnificent water oaks, and my beautiful brick school's hallway had a fan that was taller than I was, and that drew air through the entire two story building. Until I left the South, I also worked as a remodeler in the heat, and while I didn't like it, I was used to it, and that's half the battle. Now, I bitch and whine at weather that would have seemed downright pleasant when I lived down South. My perfect day would be 65-degrees, so the more above that it gets, the more I look forward to cooler weather. Even so, weather-wise, there is a lot about the South that I miss. For instance, I doubt that I hear more than two claps of thunder here in an entire year, which means that we don't get the renewed freshness to the air that I loved down South. Likewise, it's dusty here in summer, so whereas we can't see the night sky because of the overcast in winter, we can't see it because of the dust in summer. Also, the sky tends to be either clear or overcast, so the towering cumulus clouds that are so beautiful in the South are poor imitations of themselves here. No visit to a place can prepare one for actually living there.

"Today I read that 2 folks in Alabama were arrested for fighting in a buffet line over the last crab leg. I almost died laughing. God, I love my Southern brethren. Fuck all you Damn Yankees!"

My previous response was no doubt influenced by your last sentence. When I hear about an incident like the restaurant fight, I consider it a wonder that no was killed by one of the South's omnipresent guns. I don't know that such nuttiness is more common in the South, but the more guns, the more gun killings, and what a stupid way to die.

"I wouldn’t know a snow shovel if it walked into my living room and bit me in the ass!!! Ha!"

I would have thought it had something to do with manure removal. One of the things that I liked about Minnesota was that it was a lot more like the South, botanically, than is Oregon because while most Southern plants do okay in Eugene, they're not found in the wild, and they don't get as big in town." For example, there are very few hardwood trees that grow naturally here, and about the only ones that become truly magnificent in town are the Big Leaf Maples and the Ohio Buckeyes. We do have tulip trees, and they're impressive enough, but nothing like where you are.

Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So nothing has changed in the South since you left?

Strayer said...

I don't mind snow, but we didn't get much of it here in Albany. I've watched the news and seen the highways littered in downed trees and heard of all the people without power.

Winifred said...

It was the vet who told me to use the suncream on cat's white ears. Hopefully she'll like the shade & won't lie in the sun.

I can't beleive anybody would get so upset over a crab's leg to argue about it. Are they so rare & was there nothing else to eat? Maybe they had heatstroke! I just couldn't be arsed to argue over food!!!!!

Snowbrush said...

"So nothing has changed in the South since you left?"

I think it relevant that the man who wrote the article lived in Oxford, Mississippi, which is a university town (famous because Faulkner lived there, and James Meredith enrolled there), and therefore more diverse and liberal than most small Southern towns. The last time I visited the South was when Peggy's mother died, and I think that was in 2008, but I take an interest in the politics of the South, and in the news as it relates to the South, plus I read "Freethought Today" cover-to-cover. Based upon these sources, and what I hear of Peggy's family, it seems to me that things have gotten worse rather than better because while the polarization of the South might be less geographically-based than when I lived there, it's still a very reactionary, populist region. The one thing I give the South a lot of credit for is its progress in the area of race-relations. I would love to know, Kris, where you live and what your views are. I like it when people disagree with me. In a strange way, Marion and I are friends, yet it's certainly not because we agree; it's because we both keep hanging in there.

Someone expressed surprise that Minnesotans are legally required to clean their sidewalks. They're also required to clean the snow off their cars and the frost off their car windows. I remembered this because when I went shopping yesterday, I saw a great many cars with ten inches of snow on their roofs.

"It was the vet who told me to use the suncream on cat's white ears."

I'm relieved to hear this. I thought you would have checked it out, but I wanted to be sure.

Snowbrush said...

"I can't believe anybody would get so upset over a crab's leg to argue about it. Are they so rare & was there nothing else to eat"

I rather think that it was simply a case of nutty people doing nutty things. Marion identifies it with being Southern, but my thought is that no matter where one lives, only idiots would fight over crab legs. So are there more idiots in the South? I really don't know. I can but say that I associate tacky behavior (like fighting over crab legs) with being poorly educated, and since the education level is lower in the South, perhaps Marion is right in that fighting over crab legs is somehow characteristically Southern. But does it also have a racial component? I don't know, but I doubt it. Crawfish are a popular food where Marion lives, but although my home in the South was a mere hundred miles from Cajun country, I ate my first crawfish in Oregon, and I caught them myself in an Oregon stream, yet I daresay that you would have to look long and hard to find an Oregonian who ever ate a crawfish.

"The Forsythia grow wild in the woods"

Forsythia ( grows abundantly here but only in town. I'm sure it's a good thing that most plants which are introduced to Oregon do remain where they're planted. A great many of the Willamette Valley's naturalized plants have "japonica" in their names because the climate here is similar to that in Japan, so what grows in one place does well in the other.

"I can’t imagine a life without thunder! Why no thunder there?"

I have no idea, but on the upside, no thunder means no tornadoes, no thunderstorms, and no one being killed by lightning. Whereas the climate in Louisiana is quite similar all over the state, the climate in Oregon changes dramatically. For example, the Cascade Mountains block rain from the Pacific from reaching eastern Oregon, so as soon as you cross the Cascade crest, the Douglas Firs disappear, and the Ponderosa Pines take over. A very few miles later, you starting seeing junipers and then sage brush. Yet, the Oregon Coast has rain forests, the mountains have an Arctic environment, and even in the desert, the climate, and therefore the plant life, changes with elevation. Another reason for Oregon's extremely varied climate is that it's the ninth largest state (almost double the size of Louisiana).

"Do you do Instagram?"

I don't use Instagram, and I never did like Facebook. On an unrelated Internet subject, I've been thinking of late about whether to make my blog private. If I did, everyone who now reads it would be invited.

Anonymous said...

I live in Portland, sent some pipes to you. :)

I know nothing about the South personally, have never visited, no relatives live in the South except for West Palm Beach. One day, I hope to visit the South but I am not getting any younger and travel does not excite me as it once did.

Snowbrush said...

I appreciate the reminder, and am embarrassed to have forgotten. I've been having some gum grafts of late, so haven't smoked for awhile, but I like the idea of it, and will do so again. I've wondered mightily just who it was who sent me those pipes, so I'm very, very glad you reminded me. Ideally, for my purposes, you would have a user name, because it would better enable me to identify you. I know you sign your comments, but since a great many people who post anonymously are unpleasant, seeing the word "Anonymous" always gives me pause. Still, I value you, and if that is what works best for you, I wouldn't want you to feel pressured to do otherwise.

Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snowbrush said...

It appears that a majority of my regular commenters are from Britain, Australia, and the Upper Midwest. Age-wise, they tend to be toward the mature end of the spectrum, and on those occasions that they do write political posts, those posts tend to be more moderate than mine. I can't think of a single reader (of mine) about whom I would have the least thought that he or she might be attacking you. You're not my only Southern reader, Charles being from Slidell, Louisiana, and Rhymes being from Macon, Georgia. I don't know what Charles' political views are, and, while Rhymes is a conservative, I don't think he supports Trump. Rather than end your blog, you could make it by invitation only, but I would suggest that you simply kick back and hope that time rids you of the heels. It might help if you reflect upon those whom you admire most whose views are a lot more public than yours (elected officials, for example), and who continue to fight the good fight despite receiving obscenities and death threats daily. Anyone who sticks his or her head above the crowd risks becoming a target, and nowhere is this more true than of those who are on the other side from the fence from you regarding gun control.

The only presidents I've respected (since becoming an adult) were Ford and Carter, but can you truly not understand that no president has been anywhere near so openly and unapologetically hateful, dishonest, mercenary, outrageous, and alienating, as Trump, and that it's human nature that he--and by extension his followers--would thereby inspire blitering outrage on the part of their opponents? Clinton was a liar, philanderer, and probably a rapist; George H. Bush denied that atheists are even citizens; George W. Bush was a moron; Obama made his mark by prosecuting whistleblowers; etc., but Trump leaves them all in the dust in that he doesn't even attempt to maintain a veneer of decency, and what Trump is, his party has become. Just picture Cohen's testimony, which was given while looking at a poster with the words, "Liar, liar, pants on fire." No doubt the poster was a laugh-riot on Fox, and maybe you even find such things funny, but they leave the rest of us in despair that there's a mature and thoughtful person left in the Republican Party.

rhymeswithplague said...

Rhymes is not from Macon, Georgia. Rhymes is from (in chronological order) Pawtucket, RHode Island - Fort Worth and Mansfield, Texas - Orlando, Florida - Bellevue, Nebraska - Poughkeepsie, New York - and for the last 44 years, the state of Georgia. 28 of those 44 years were spent in Marietta in Cobb County, and 16 of those 44 years have been spent in Cherokee County with a Canton mailing address. Macon is below the gnat line, and no one in his or her right mind lives below the gnat line. I do consider myself a Southerner, even though I was born in Rhode Island to a mother from Pennsylvania, because I have lived in the South or Southwest from the age of 6 (with a couple of side trips thanks to Uncle Sam and an employer as noted above). To those who would say "Texas isn't the South, it's the SouthWEST" I can only say that we seceded, if that's any qualification.

So no, Marion, you are not Snow's only Southern reader. Nor his only Christian one. We have learned to agree to disagree.

Snowbrush said...

"Rhymes is not from Macon, Georgia"

Who are you--his autobiographer, and am I to assume that you speak for him on good authority? I had a sneaky suspicion that I named the wrong town, which meant that I had to either (a) take the risk and assume that you would eventually drop by and correct me, or (b) get out my address book (which isn't in my computer) and look you up. I counted six states in which you've lived. I've accumulated four: Mississippi, Oregon, Minnesota, and (if having lived in a place for four months counts), California. Regionally, I've lived in the Deep South, the West Coast, the Northwest Coast, and the Upper Mid West. You, my friend, have lived in the Mid-Atlantic, the Deep South, the Midwest, the Northeast, and whatever region Texas is in.

"To those who would say "Texas isn't the South, it's the SouthWEST" I can only say that we seceded, if that's any qualification."

I don't think it MUCH OF a qualification, no, having seen Marfa, Laredo, Lubbock, Amarillo, Langtry, and other hundreds of other square miles of Texas desert that looks so dissimilar to the other states that seceded from the Union that they might as well be on the moon. "...we seceded..." I don't interpret this to mean that you thought that secession was ever other than an idiocy and a tragedy, so please tell me if I am wrong. I only know that, if I were you, I would, on this issue, take a lot more pleasure in identifying with Rhode Islander Sullivan Ballou than with any rebel from Texas. You might also recall that Sam Houston vigorously opposed secession. I think you read my post about one of my long ago (Alabama) aunts who was a "Yankee sympathizer" and, after the war, demanded reimbursement for her prize horse that was practically taken out from under here by the Union cavalry, She alone made the hours I've put into genealogy worthwhile... I personally think of the part of Texas that lies west of Dallas (Arlington, really) as being in the Southwest, and the part that east of Dallas as being in the Deep South because Dallas is where the terrain starts to change.

I didn't know about the "gnat line," having lucked out and not traveled in the area while they were a problem. I do think of southern Georgia and Alabama as homely areas, especially in contrast to how pretty the northern parts of both states are.

"So no, Marion, you are not Snow's only Southern reader. Nor his only Christian one."

And then there's Charles who grew up in Arkansas but teaches at a Catholic college in Slidell, Louisiana, although I don't recall him ever mentioning religion one way or another.

P.S. Is being from Pawtucket what turned you against profanity, sort of like with a neighbor of mine who recently told me that she turned against dogs running off-leash when a Rhodesian Ridgeback ran up and bit her in the butt?

rhymeswithplague said...

P.S. - After reading your reply I realize I unintentionally omitted a couple ofother places I have lived, including Elmhurst, Queens, New York (as a toddler) and Boca Raton, Florida for seven years as an adult (after Poughkeepsie NY and before Marietta GA). Yes, I am my own autobiographer. Wouldn't you be yours? Isn't that the very definition of autobiography? I rest my case.

P.S. #2 - I was about g to correct you about Texas but then you sort of did it yourself. I was going to say that the places you named are all in West Texas, and East Texas is the part of the state that is most like and an actual extension of the Deep South. For Worth's official motto is "Where the West Begins" and I used to add, "Dallas is where the East peters out. There are actually stretches of I-35 (old US Highway 81 )- at least there used to be - where you can look to the east and see cotton fields and look to the west and see rocks and cactus. If memory serves correctly, this north/south geographical fault is called the Balcones Escarpment, which is neither here nor there. Well, actually, it is there and I am over here in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

I see that the button convention will be held in Portland this year, I hope to go.

Snowbrush said...

"Yes, I am my own autobiographer. Wouldn't you be yours? Isn't that the very definition of autobiography? I rest my case."

As always, you run circles around me by cunningly twisting my words so that I come away looking more stupid than I actually am. I had simply thought (and I could be wrong) that "autobiography" is like "automatic transmission" (and automatic everything else) in that it does things automatically, thereby eliminating the need--or even the possibility--of a doer. For instance, when you're driving, and the gears change, you could be dead for all the car cared because the outcome would be same. Likewise, I could (if I were able) create a computer program that would automatically write your autobiography without either of us having to do anything, but I've no doubt but what you would expect the royalties from it, which I must confess hurts my feelings.

"There are actually stretches of I-35...where you can look to the east and see cotton fields and look to the west and see rocks and cactus."

But would this be true if you were driving in the opposite direction? For instance, here in Oregon, if you drive across the crest of the Cascades in one direction, the change from Douglas Firs to Ponderosa Pines is almost instant (due to the "rain shadow" that the mountains create) but if you're going the other direction, the opposite is true, and I've never been able to figure out why.

Kris, did you get that address okay?

Andrew said...

I am not commenting just because you left a comment on my blog. Your blog is good and you write well. Snow like you experienced is difficult for Australians to imagine. City temperatures here now don't get down to 0 C, -31 C, not remarkable by Minnesota standards a few decades ago but unimaginable here.

Snowbrush said...

Well thank god for that! My readership has dropped because I don't visit other people's blogs so much anymore, my energy being too low to leave long responses on my blog AND respond to other people's blogs. However, when I saw your comment on Strayer's blog, I was curious about you because Strayer is among the bravest and most giving people I know, having devoted her life to helping cats, cats being creatures that can't give her awards, pay her a salary, or respond in kind. Also, her work leads foolish people to dismiss her as a "cat lady." Therefore, for someone to care about Strayer makes me feel positively disposed toward them. When I think of her, I think of Jesus's words, "When you have done good unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me." Also, Strayer and I go way back as blog buddies. She only lives an hour's drive from here, yet we've never met, both of us being a bit shy, I suppose.

Something else in you favor is that thoughts regarding Australians are loving because some of my most loyal followers live either there (and in England). Some years ago, one of my Australian followers (Nollyposh was her blog name) died, and I still feel the pain. I don't know why so many of the people who love me most live far away. Is it simply a coincidence, or did living far apart make us feel safer in our early days together, or is it that our exoticism (relative to one another) piques our mutual interest? I really don't know. I also take it that you might be gay, and gay people also interest me in a positive way because I know that they've faced challenges that I've never had to face.

"City temperatures here now don't get down to 0 C, -31 C, not remarkable by Minnesota standards a few decades ago but unimaginable here"

When I first moved to Minnesota, I wore so many coats that people stared at me from restaurant windows, but I got used to the cold, and when I did, it was no longer the low temps that bothered me, it was the ice and the dirty slush. I could take my car to the car wash, and within minutes of leaving, it would as filthy as it had been, and when I took my daily walks, I had to stare at my feet constantly for fear of slipping on the ice. Interestingly, the people of the America's Upper Midwest are among the longest-lived in the country.

Strayer said...

Seems like your blog is vanishing. Or maybe my computer is dying. Are posts going away? Well, it probably is my computer. I just got an email delivered from December 2015. I just saw it in my inbox as unread, read and replied and the lady responded, "I sent that years ago." I talked to my brother and he says its probably slow internet to blame, but I don't know. Seems posts are missing, to me.

Snowbrush said...

"Seems like your blog is vanishing. Or maybe my computer is dying. Are posts going away?"

I still have the post that you responded to a couple of days ago. I had accidentally hit the Publish button instead of the Save button. When I returned to the post an hour later and saw that it was online, I immediately took it off line. By then, you and Angela had responded. I have your responses, but I don't know if they will appear when I put the post back online. In any event, I can still respond to them.