Friday, March 29, 2013

Finally, Spring

Finally, Spring
by Todd R. Tystad

Unfortunate news for the skiers and snowboarders among us is the fact that spring has, undeniably, arrived in our fair burg. Signs are everywhere and even though the possibility of snow and icy cold winds will remain for a few weeks, the worst of winter is over. Whine if you must, but spring has arrived here in the Midwest.

Those who know me well know how fond I am of the climate in Southern California. I spent the better part of 15 years honoring the changing of the seasons by making hard decisions like whether to wear a short or long-sleeved t-shirt, whether I could eat outside, and whether it was an SPF 15 or 30 day. If I ever wanted to remember what winter felt like, I'd head up to the Bay Area for an afternoon.

As many of us do in America's heartland, I watch carefully for any sign that winter is on its way out. At this very moment I can see baby blades of grass struggling to rise up above last year's growth, lilac leaf buds preparing to burst open, and the triumphant return of yard sales telling me that it's time for authentic warm weather.

With spring's new growth comes our traditional occasions that symbolize new life and freedom, Easter and Passover. As we all prepare for the time we'll spend with our families and friends, I'd like to share some reminders that will help us all make it to summer without any gloom, despair, divorce, or assault charges.

First of all, please remember that we all have to put up with some crazy relatives at holiday meals sometimes. If we didn't, it wouldn't seem at all like a holiday meal. Secondly, please do not give baby rabbits, chicks, or ducklings to children as gifts. Few households are suited to safely adopting such animals and giving a plush pet is a much better choice. Seriously. And finally, get outside and enjoy the weather while you can. Like Mom always said, there's no reason to stay cooped up in the house all day when there's beautiful weather outside.

Celebrate spring. Celebrate family. Celebrate the fact that you don't need to hide indoors for fear of frostbite or collapsed lungs. Spring is here. Now go out and enjoy it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2013

St. Patrick's Day is a couple of weeks away and now is the time to make plans for how you're going to celebrate. Here's a lucky seven list of ways that the House of Tystad marks one of the best days of the year. You've only got a few days to get ready, so get on it.

1. Watch a movie about Irish blokes. I really like and highly recommend The Commitments. The soundtrack is outstanding.

2. Listen to some Irish music. My short list includes The Killigans and The Dropkick Murphys.

3. Cook up some Irish food. There has always been and will always be corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes on St. Patrick's Day at the House of Tystad.

4. Wear some green. Keep it under control, but this one is just a given.

5. Visit a St. Patrick's Day community festival. There's nothing like celebrating with some kindred spirits.

6. Watch a St. Patrick's Day parade. Sometimes even better than a festival because the good ones are a festival in and of themselves.

7. Stop in at an Irish pub. Some might say that St. Patrick's Day is too busy and crowded, but... you ever notice that those people aren't Irish? Don't listen to them. Live a little.

And, as if you need any more inspiration, I leave you with my favorite Irish blessing.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.