Beware the Seattle Introvert

There are those who believe that the Seattle Freeze is simply a bi-product of Seattle having a higher percentage of introverts than other large metropolitan cities.  Ok.

Well, for what it’s worth, in my journey of getting to know my neighbors better I have found that regardless of introvert or extrovert, people (neighbors) enjoy connecting. True, they all may not need or want as much connection as myself (an extroverted extrovert), but this past year I have not only INVITED neighbors over for dinner (who tell me they are more introverted), but I have also been INVITED TO THEIR HOMES for dinner.  So there.

Autumn in Seattle is a great time to host a block party.

In two weeks, April 29, it will be one year since I “Declared War On The Seattle Freeze.”  In two weeks I’ll unpack what I did, what I learned and where I go from here.  Until then, I thought I’d celebrate my introvert friends by sharing some fun insights I came across from another blog called “Introvert, Dear.”  Blogger Jenn Granneman shares her “9 Rules For Being Friends With An Introvert” in this whimsical (yet truthful) blog post about what she needs her friends to know if they want to enjoy a friendship with her.

And, I  have to say, after my neighborhood book club recently read and discussed the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain, a lot about Jenn’s ‘9 Rules’ is more truth than whimsy.

You can click the link above for the full blog post; here I’m sharing an edited version.  These are probably good things to keep in mind as you get to know your neighbors, being mindful to respect that some Seattleites might ‘keep social’ differently than yourself.

Jenn Granneman’s: 9 Rules For Being Friends With An Introvert

  1. Don’t text us and ask us to be ready to hang out in 10 minutes.  We need waaaay more than 10 minutes to mentally prepare ourselves to be with people.
  2. If we hung out with you yesterday, we don’t want to hang out again today. No offense, but we need time to recharge after being with people.
  3. If we think it’s just going to be the two of us hanging out, don’t invite three more people. It’s a little hurtful when we feel like we’re just another warm body in your extrovert entourage.
  4. Don’t show up where we live without asking first.  This goes back to that whole “we need to be mentally prepared to see people” thing.
  5. “Tired” is code for “we don’t want to be around people anymore.”  We might just be “tired” of being surrounded by people.
  6. We like to listen because we’re good at it, but don’t take advantage of it. (Don’t) launch into a monologue that lasts 20 minutes – even we have our limits.
  7. If we don’t answer your text right away, it doesn’t mean we hate you, it just means we want to be left along for a while. For our own mental sanity, sometimes we need to completely disconnect from people in every way.
  8. If you call us, it better be because you’re bleeding or your cat died, or some other horrific emergency happened. Otherwise, don’t call us. We hate talking on the phone.
  9. If we say we want to stay home, we really do just want to stay home. So let us.


Posted in The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Ham for Easter? Really?

This weekend is Easter Sunday.

While the BunnyMan will be paying a visit to most hobbit holes with grade-school-aged children, for a major part of the globe Easter is a religious (Christian) holiday that pauses to recognize the Messiah’s arduous suffering on the cross and culminates in a great celebration of the day that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Jesus. A man Christians around the world believe willingly suffered for all mankind. Jesus. Born of the House of David, of the nation of Israel.

Jesus. A good Jewish boy who kept the law, didn’t work on the Sabbath, honored his parents. He lived a perfect life. And, of course, as a good Jewish man he never ate pork.

And so, just so I’m clear here, the majority of people in America who celebrate the religious Easter will sit around a table this Sunday and eat what? Ham.

Ham? I mean, seriously, am I the only person who sees the uncomfortable irony here? Ham? Pork? There’s something just not right about this.

Kind of like: “Oh, in honor of Jesus we’re going to pull up a chair and enjoy a huge slab of unclean pig! Would anyone like a side of non-kosher scalloped potatoes with that?” And don’t forget the green jello with the carrot flecks. Nothing says humility and gratitude like green jello with carrot flecks.


Come on! Tell me we can do better than that!

According to The Boston Globe this week, eating ham at Easter dates back to at least the 6th century in Germany. Slaughtered and hung in the autumn, pigs were one of the few meats available to eat at the early spring festival. When Christianity spread northward, it merged with the pagan spring celebration of Eostre, the goddess of the rising dawn. A convenient uniting of traditions was born, with ham at the center of the feast.

Last time I checked most of us had discovered this new thing call REFRIGERATION and I’m hard pressed to believe most Amazonians or Microsofties have slaughtered pig drying in their garage over the winter.

Even much of Europe serves lamb at Easter nowadays.  Well anyway, I just can’t do ham/pork in good conscience on Easter Sunday. My apologies to Costco and it’s truck load of spiral cuts in the freezer section this time of year.  No Easter ham for me. It’s just wrong.

At mi casa, we’re having fish. At least emotionally and spiritually I can make that work – ‘Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men..  ‘the miracle of the 5 loaves and fish.. ‘ the story of the ‘miraculous catch of fish‘  Are you tracking with me here?

So, in light of Jesus being on a mission to gather the world to him, I’ve been on a mission to gather a new guest to my Easter lunch table (OK, it’s a stretch but it’s Easter – toss me some grace). In keeping with my neighboring goals, I’ve been in process of reaching out to someone I either haven’t connected with in a long time, or a neighbor I haven’t yet had over for a meal, or one of those friends that I’ve been meaning to have over for – oh, somewhere in the ballpark of between 6 months and 8 years.  Yes, I’ve got some work to do.

ForgiveWhomever will be joining us, it’ll be a great time to connect. And I’ll be very grateful.

But there will be no ham.

Happy Easter.

#superfluousblogpost  #warpedsenseofhumor


Posted in Connecting, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Is Facebook making a liar out of you?

This past weekend was my mother’s memorial service. A wonderfully tearful time of reflection mixed with giant breaths of gratitude for the number of extended family and longtime friends of her’s who came to say ‘she was a great lady; she was a great friend. We will miss her.’

It was naturally also a time for me to get caught up with a few folks that I’ve known since my childhood – old neighbors, longtime friends from the church my family and I attended during my growing up years.

And then I had a conversation with a good friend – one of those longtime friends – that stopped me in my tracks. I have always felt a good connection with my friend. We grew up around the corner from each other, attended the same church as kids, went to the same high school, I was an attendant in her wedding, we share longtime mutual friends. She is an amazing vocalist and she sang at my mom’s service. Certainly, we have lived in different cities for quite some time, but we still know the ‘goings on’ of one another’s lives.

And then she said, “The last time I actually saw you in person was at your wedding.”  More than 15 years ago. What?  No. That can’t be.

Oh, it be.

You see, we have stayed connected via Facebook, texting, Christmas cards, email. But we haven’t truly sat down face to face or really even had a long talk on the phone in over 15 years. We haven’t had that nice, long, get caught-up conversation.  The phrase that shot out my mouth at that moment was, “Facebook sure can make a liar out of us, making us feel that we’re more connected to each other than we actually are.” Continue reading

Posted in Connecting, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

LIFE: It Takes A Village

Spring brings new beginnings

Several years ago I found myself in a place of feeling like every facet of my life felt like ‘work.’  Have you ever felt that way?  That no matter what you had your finger in, it just became more investment than reward, more negotiation than resolve, more conflict than peace. More work.

Sharing this with a good friend, his response was to encourage me to “take some time and practice gratitude.  Write down everything you are grateful for right now in your life.”

My first reaction was “Oh, thank you Mr. Solution-Oriented Male.”  (I’ll own up – he was my pastor.) That’s NOT what I wanted to hear.  In fact, I didn’t want to have to DO one more thing.

Yet, within a week or so of that conversation I found myself traveling for work (which I was not happy about). Having some free time one evening, my friend’s recommendation was ringing in my ears so I bought a journal and started writing down what I was grateful for.

At first it was a great struggle.  But then, I changed the ‘what’ to ‘who’.  And then the writing became easy.  I began writing down the names of so many friends.  Friends from childhood that were still good friends.  Friends from my late twenties that I met during a season in a social organization. Friends from my faith community. Friends at work. Friends that had moved away but we still stayed in touch.

SpringBeginnings1By the time I finished writing and looked at my long list, my heart was indeed grateful. My mind began to clear and I began to have a fresh perspective on changes I could make in my life to lessen the ‘work.’

Thank God for my friends.

Today I’m embracing and returning to that much-needed gratitude exercise.  Last week, after a 7-year decent into Alzheimer’s, my mother passed away. Continue reading

Posted in Better Together, Connecting, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neighboring: don’t underestimate our ‘Friends of the Road’

What free gift could you give a friend or neighbor this Valentine’s Day?

Friendship is a broad word that, when you break it down, describes the intentional actions of giving and receiving with another human being for mutual benefit. It occurs when, ideally, people equally invest in one another.

What word or gift could you give a friend this Valentine's Day?

Sometimes I think this Seattle Freeze comes from the fact that we live in a time when people move pretty frequently and the thought of ‘investing’ in neighbors feels potentially ‘emptying’ rather than ‘fueling’. Continue reading

Posted in Connecting, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You know you’re turning 50 when…

…You need your reading glasses not only to read The Seattle Times but to decipher the items on your dinner plate.

…Y2K is the last date you remember having a recognizable waistline.

… Your chief career goal is to retire early enough so that your Social Security benefits are grandfathered-in before the government goes bankrupt.

… Someone mentions “50 Shades of Grey” and your first thought is not a spicey novel, but the number of black turtlenecks in your closet (see Nora Ephron’s “I feel bad about my neck” ). Continue reading

Posted in Connecting, Laughter | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Seattle: it’s time to engage your inner 12

I just need to say #GoHawks.

Seattle Seahawks Hawkitecture

It’s the Blue Friday of all Blue Fridays today.

We’re on the cusp of #RePete and you can feel the energy in the air.


It’s time for all of Seattle to engage their inner 12. 

Continue reading

Posted in The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Are you ALL IN for a Seahawks Super Bowl Party?

Mead 12th Man!  Go Hawks!!Like so many Seattle 12s, I am still stunned, thrilled, exhausted and just-shy-of speechless from the Seahawks’ miraculous come-from-behind NFC Championship victory last Sunday. This is probably why it’s taken me 5 days to try and get some thoughts down about it.

Every time I start a conversation – or a paragraph – about the game it sounds/looks like:

“Can you be…”

“I thought my heart w….”

“I was so…and then…I just…”

“And Sherman played with his ar….”

“And then that guy – I’d never heard of  – caught the fa…..”

“And then Wilson started to cr….”

Speechless.  Our boys in blue delivered one for the ages. One that we’ll be retelling over and over to our grandchildren.

Probably the best 5 minutes of football ever played.

We witnessed a miracle, celebrating what seemed impossible. As KOMO sportscaster Eric Johnson put it: “Game? That was no game. That was a metaphor for life.”  Indeed. Continue reading

Posted in Connecting, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Will Your 2015 Goals Improve Your Character?

In the last week I have absorbed my share of blog posts, magazine articles, columns from cultural thought leaders, Facebook posts and not just a few Tweets all about New Year’s resolutions.

√ How to make them.

√  How to keep them.

√  How and why most people fail at them (always a cheerful topic).

But I noticed an absence of column inches dedicated to what makes a resolution ‘worthy’ of one’s time. Continue reading

Posted in Better Together, Connecting, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I spent my Christmas vacation..

Do you remember when your grade school teacher asked you to write a ‘theme’ in January titled “How I spent my Christmas vacation”?  I do. And I feel like I’m writing that theme today. But today it’s a lot more fun than it was in Fourth Grade. First, because it’s not for a grade. Second, and more importantly, because I’m enjoying reflecting on a warm December, of time well spent with my neighbors.

December 1st, I posted up a challenge of sorts of 5 terrific ideas each of us could try to take one step toward getting to know our neighbors better. (see “One Thing Can Make All The Difference This December”) The rest of the month was spent sharing funny stories with each other in the hopes of bringing a little sunshine to Seattle’s darkest month. I hope it was a lift.

But as the calendar has rolled to January I thought it would be a good idea for me to give an accounting of how well I tried to follow my own advice with regards to these 5 ideas. Continue reading

Posted in Connecting, neighborhood block party, neighbors, The Seattle Freeze | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment