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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Love where you live

Wauwatosa

The bases were loaded, with a dad on third. The one girl in the group was up: she hit a solid grounder, and despite some pretty accomplished fielding, the dad and the kid on second made it home.

It was one of those cool overcast mornings we've been having, and the dog and I were cutting through Underwood School's wonderful fields. I thought I was seeing something I hadn't seen in a long time: a pick-up game. After all, there were no uniforms, no parents with coolers and lawn chairs, and while there were enough people for two teams, they weren't full teams.

A pick-up game, for those of you who are young, is a spontaneous event in which a bunch of bored kids or "growns" take the initiative to relieve their boredom. They grab what equipment is available and, with whoever's available, set out to play a game of whatever people are playing these days.

In ancient times, this was what kids did all the time. And the game was usually baseball.

Turns out it was a Tosa Baseball League team practice, not a pick-up game. Still, it had the fine relaxed but focused rhythms of a sport being played for the pleasure of it. And no sport has the sophisticated rhythms and choreography of baseball. If you ask me, which you didn't, I know.

This is one of the things I love about Wauwatosa, the feeling of a rich family community, a little safer, a little prettier than many. People spend lots of time tossing the ball back and forth. There are long periods of pleasant dullness punctuated by moments of excitement and activity.

We get distracted in the problems sometimes, but there's a solid core and much goodness here.

I care about that, and my own way of loving where I live is to pay attention to its strengths and its weaknesses. That's why I sometimes write about political things, why I'm sometimes a cheerleader and sometimes a critic.

Love where you live was the British Broadcasting Corporation's Radio 2 spring campaign for creating a stronger sense of neighborhoods. The goal seems to have included cleaning up spaces and building "social capital," the relationships among people that let them live together, move together toward a common goal, or even barter services.

Some people hated it of course, saying things like "I'm not spending my bloody birthday having lunch with my pikey neighbors!"

It takes all kinds.

The campaign included a "Love thy Neighbour?" quiz. There aren't any questions like "so do you spend your Tuesday evenings under the fluoroscent lights of a city council chamber taking notes and then stay up til 1 am scribbling about it?" That kind of of "love" for where you live and for your neighbors is a bit abstract.

But you might like to see what kind of neighbor/neighbor you are.

Do you love where you live? What do you love about it? How do you show it?

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