Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sisterly Love

You've all heard me say it. I adore my big sister. Big time. She's got a fantastic sense of humor, she's got a wealth of knowledge packed into that head of hers, she is patient, tolerant, and is genuinely interested in those around her. She's got an exceptional sense of adventure and a youthful appreciation of life. She got our dad's big blue eyes and her smile matches her tremendous laugh. She throws chips when she's angry and drinks wine when she's happy. This post is for her—and for Brent, a fellow appreciator of all things Tami.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Puttin' the Chill in Chiloquin

Chiloquin, OR is about 1/2 an hour outside of Klamath Falls (South Central Oregon). In the 2000 census the population was 716. According to Tami and Brent, this number is skewed as it does not include the rural area carrying the Chiloquin postmark, but still outside of Chiloquin proper. Their population estimate is closer to 2,000. Coming from Los Angeles, this discrepancy is inconsequential. This is a town which my cell phone has decided does not need technology. My move here also happened to coincide with my departure from Facebook, which was due mostly to the realization that my thoughts were frequently in the form of status updates. Facebook is a language I don't need to speak. The vocabulary I need in Chiloquin includes such terms as yak trax, smart wool, and carhartts. "A toasty 65" is something I had never heard in Los Angeles, but refers to the temperature at which Tami and Brent keep their house. "The Tribe" refers to the Native American population, which lost it's recognition of sovereignty in 1954. Their possession of the land has since been partially restored, but they were the only tribe that actually spent the money given to them by the government in return for the land, and this marks them as outcasts in the Native American population as a whole. Apparently there was a time when new Cadillacs could be found in the woods around Chiloquin. They had been abandoned by Tribesmen when broken down in the snow and a replacement Cadillac would be purchased in lieu of towing and repairs. I wish I had owned a tow truck then. I would have collected Caddys the way present-day Oregonians collect bottles and cans. If you have the patience for long lines and frequently broken machines, recycling can prove quite lucrative in these parts.

I've learned that a cord is a unit of measurement for firewood equal to an 8' x 4' x 4' pile, and that you should never start a fire with the heater on or the smoke will pour out of the stove and into the living room. Also, a cast iron teapot, full of water and perched atop the stove, is a necessary in order to keep the air from drying out from the fire.

Another term that may only be useful in the Stroud household is labeling things as "So Cal." This means that function follows form. I tried to purchase a pair of So Cal snow boots until Brent told me it would be ill-advised. After Tami and I were complimented on our smiles, we found this terminology applies to us in a very specific way. We have So Cal teeth.

My favorite Chiloquin discovery thus far is Melita's. Melita's business card informs us that it is a RESTAURANT-MOTEL-LOUNGE-RV PARK-MINI STORAGE. This is, apparently, the only bar in town. 10 people enter a bar and ask how the bartendress is doing, bartendress says "a lot better before you walked in here." Don't ask for a Hefeweisen, because she will be out, unless you are the lonely guy at the end of the bar who must have dibs on the last 3 pints. If you come into the restaurant for lunch, your menu options include the Redneck Eggs Benedict or the Southern Ore. Burrito complete with 3 meats, salsa AND gravy. Yum. Welcome to Chiloquin. It's cold here, but I love it.