When does spring come?

IMG_3969.jpgSpring must come slowly and quietly

Just a little at at time – tiptoeing on paws across the garden

Maybe it comes with one degree warmer each day

Or in the few extra minutes of the sun rising or setting

I know when we marked our calendar

But when will spring be here

It is when it turns 65 degrees

Is it when I can walk barefoot across the grass

Is it when I can feel the moist soil in my fingers

Is it when the first bulbs bloom

When the daffodil turning its face to the sun

I don’t know this year

Spring is hiding

being shy tiptoeing in on tiny cat paws

 oh so slowly and quietly

It is waiting

So I sit and wait  as well

watching

I don’t want to miss that moment

when we can truly say

it is spring

_______________

This writing was inspired by a sudden remembering late in the night of Carl Sandburg’s poem. I could not get the phrase “comes on little cat feet” out of my head.

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
It is also motivated by the fact that Minneapolis, MN is currently getting another 6 to 8 inches of snow today on April 3rd!!!!!
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Day 31 of 31: Surprises

Surprise – that is what we in Minnesota got this morning. Day 31 of March – a day we are thinking will take us into spring but no there is 3 inches of new snow sitting in my yard and it feels like 14 degrees outside with the wind. There is shoveling to do  (Yeah, for the adult son who is out there now shoveling instead of me or his Dad).

Today also brings other surprises as we reflect on a month of writing everyday. There were days that I thought no not this year – I am going to stop – I have nothing more to say but I did not. There were days where I wrote a simple piece and found the comments very moving or realized people where seeing things I did not see in downloadmy writing.

There is also now the final surprise and satisfaction of a job completed well, the joy of new friendships and renewed friends with other bloggers. There is the continued surprise of what people see in my writing and what amazing pieces I have read during this month from others.

I have learned a lot as I always do. I am thankful to our team at TWT for taking this task on every year. It is an a great deal of work and they do it well and with great cheer. I am grateful to all of you who took time to write and comment each day. It is amazing to be a part of this great group of writers.

Again Thank you to TWT, to the Welcome Wagon people and all the writers.

Plan to see you on Tuesdays each week!

And just because this is worth reading again –

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”

-Neil Gaiman

 

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Day 30: A return to the basement garden

We are two days from the start of April. The sun tried its best this morning to make it look like spring but the wind won out and my walk was cold. By late morning the clouds had rolled over the blue sky and what was forecasted as rain showed up as snow flurries.

In the front garden you can now see three of the four raised beds and the green fence around the tulip bed is visible but the ground is still at least a foot under snow. It is clear that there will be no early April spinach, the tulips will not be up until late April and no planting will happen until mid May.

peppersJPG.JPGWith this in mind I headed to the basement grow lights. My peppers plants have all sprouted but have not grown their true leaves yet. My tomatoes have acted like weeds and have grown tall and every last seed sprouted. So today was thinning and re planting day. I carefully took the little cells with three or four plants in them, jiggled the plants apart so as not to hurt the tiny thin roots systems and re planted 8 of each of the six varieties of tomatoesplanting.JPG.  There were two varieties I transplanted a few days ago and I kept 12 of each of those.

If you are doing the math I now have 72 small tomato plants growing under light. I threw away about 24 small plants that I just could not grow – no space inside and really no space for that many tomato plants outside. You would think I have a farm. No, I have 6 raised beds. Only one of those beds gets tomato plants so really I only need about 6 plants. What am I doing?  What am I going to do with all these plants?

Under the lights I also have 16 basil plants started, some parsley and all those peppers. I clearly need spring and hands in the dirt. I was happy to have dirt under my finger nails today even if it is was inside.

As to the plants – my daughter will get a few, I have a new friend who said he would like a few and maybe my daughter can find a few friends who could use a tomato plant or two. tomato transplant.JPG

Confession to make: I am so proud of myself to get the number of tomato plants down to 72. Last year I could not throw any of my little seedling away and ended up with close to 100 little tomato plants growing on my deck in tiny pots. It was crazy.

throw away plantsJPG.JPG

 

 

These are my throw away plants!!

 

They were healthy strong plants. The seeds were great but I just can’t grow that many tomatoes.

Don’t ask why I planted so many to start with?

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Day 29: Brother and Sister

IMG_0159.jpg

Today late in the afternoon I come home to find my son sitting with his phone face timing with his older sister. My heart melted to watch and listen to the two of them checking in.

Now I know that might not seem like a big deal but here is the story. Pete, the younger moved to Chicago in December with his partner. They moved because she had found a better job. They moved because he had sold off his food truck and was ready for a new start. We waved them a sad good bye but realized Chicago is not that far away.

Now four months later – the two of them are on to a new adventure. The job in Chicago was a great pay raise but not a happy place. Pete did not find what he was looking for but a new opportunity has arisen.

They will spend a few months back in Minneapolis for training for his partner Madison. Then she will be placed in a New York office. Meanwhile Pete is in the running for a possible job in NY as well. So here they are returning home to live with us for a short time. I am beyond excited to have them here. Pete came today with the u-haul truck and their belongs. His partner will follow on Sunday by air.

Which leads us to this afternoon when Missy, his older sister called checking in on his drive and he is checking in on her and saying text me tomorrow. Please text me tomorrow lets get together.

So it is clear as parents we have done something right when your adult kids are comfortable staying with you for a little while but not to long. You know you have done something right when they are worried that they should move the u-haul truck to a better place while raiding your chocolate stash in the refrigerator. And you really know you have done a good job of parenting when siblings check in with each other when important things are happening in each others lives.

All I can do is smile, enjoy this short time he is here and know that my kids turned just fine! They care about each other!      I am in Mother love tonight!!!!!

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Day 28: personal rhythms

images.jpgIt is day 28 of writing. It has been a great run and most days I have been ready and excited to write. Today I was up before 6:00 am and off to test kids by 7:00. We managed to get three 5th grade classes done with the state science test. (just 5 makes ups),  I quilted for a few hours with an old friend then meet my husband and another friend for dinner.

It is now 7:30 pm and I have just gotten home for the day. I have just sat down with my computer and realize my brain is turning off. I am done for the day. I reviewed titles of other blog posts, I thought about the conversation at dinner and the events with students. All interesting, all good events but nothing that I wish to write about.

I realize I just want a blank page.

It was a busy day with very little time sitting except when quilting but that was highly focused work as well. There was no down time just lots of people time.

It is funny – when I was younger that is what I lived on – days like today where I was going all the time. I wanted days where there were lots of people around and lots of things to do. Now 4 1/2 years into retirement I don’t want and don’t need that kind of day anymore. I like a day with some activity and some personal time to read or write maybe to garden (indoors or out). I need time to go walking. I crave time alone and quiet time during my day.

It is interesting how we change over time. I suppose I could call it aging, slowing down but I don’t think that is it. I think I am now looking for balance in my life – some activity and some stillness. I am finding that I like time alone to think, reflect and work at my own pace whether that is fast or slow. I like finding my own rhythm for my day.

Today was a day I fit into others rhythms so now 12 hours later I am ready for a clear blank page. Time to just pull in and be quiet for awhile.

So I will see you tomorrow!

 

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Day 27: It began today!

I work part time as a public school test coordinator. I don’t believe in standardized tests but there I am organizing, sorting, problem solving computer issues, calendar issues and staff needs.

Today we began our state tests for the spring season. We began with science. We are three days from spring break but really wanted to get this test for our 5th graders done and out of the way. It is not as long as the reading and math. There is some support to help them through but no matter what it is a hard tests for them.

There is so much to think about when you are in elementary school and testing. There is the mechanics for working the computers. The knowing how to make the graphs, charts and videos work. Then there is the science vocabulary that needs to be mastered, the concepts being presented and the problems solving to be done. One hour into it today and they were tired. Their eyes hurt and they were ready to move.

They were great! They focused and worked hard. They remained still and quiet while others were finishing. All that said and done there are those statements that hurt when you hear them

  • “how am I suppose to know I just started school in fourth grade” ( a new ELL student)
  • “my tooth won’t come out and it really hurts, it makes my whole head hurt” (you know kids are still getting their adult teeth in fifth grade)
  • Then there is a kid who just can’t stop his body from moving – moving really fast – to fast to sit and test today. We will try again tomorrow.
  • There is a child who is just started learning English who knows enough right now to click on one of the circles and click the arrow to move forward.
  • Then there is the child who knows the content, knows the vocabulary and has strong study skills so they listen, answer and go back to review their answers after each section.

Everyone of these students are smart, capable but they each come to school with different backgrounds, experiences and support. They each come having had a different type of evening –

  • One might be home with mom and dad eating dinner and going to bed at a good time,
  • One might be home babysitting young siblings and making dinner as Mom and or Dad work a second job and return home a bit late,
  • One might be sleeping on the floor or in the back of a car since they had to leave their apartment in a hurry when there was not enough funds to pay the rent this month,
  • One might be gong to bed early without dinner because there wasn’t enough food in the house. It is the end of the month and they may be waiting for the April paycheck to get the next set of groceries.

Some adults sorting through the ins and out of what our students should be able to do by the time they reach 5th grade forget each student comes with different skills, experiences, emotional needs and different types of stress.

_______

I remember when little my mother being told I was not doing well as a student. Being told that I really struggle with school and was not a reader, was not doing well on tests. I remember thinking I was a dumb kid. I also remember not sleeping at night, having nightmares and fears of being left alone without any support. My father had died the beginning of September that year. My struggles in school had very little to do with being dumb but more with not sleeping and holding so much fear inside because I couldn’t understand what had happened to my father. Where was he and why did he leave us?  Since we were from a good Swedish background this was not talked about. We put one foot in front of the other and moved on.

_________

I get it when kids just can’t make it during the test. I understand when they look at me like what???  What am I suppose to do here?  I just wish some of our congressman and woman could see those faces and understand those differing needs when they insist we test and test and test elementary students.

And so the testing season begins!

 

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Day 26: a reason to believe

It snowed again but walking is what I do so out I went again this morning – I am in need of a good emotional clearing. The National news has me full of thoughts and memories. The good ones and the bad ones.

I listened to three video clips in a row on Kathrine Sokolowski blog post. Yes, I had already watched them several times. This time they were posted together and the impact was powerful. The lines from Lin-Manuel Miranda song Found Tonight pulled me over the edge. The stirring of thoughts, care and love in this community of young people is amazing.

I pulled these lines as I listened to the guys sing after hearing the Emma and Naomi speak.

  • Have you ever felt like you could fall and no one would hear
  • Have you felt like you could disappear
  • Maybe there is a reason to feel you will be ok
  • When you don’t feel strong enough to stand
  • Reach out  – reach out your hand
  • Raise a glass to freedom
  • Something that no one can take away
  • You will be found
  • Someone will come running to take you home
  • Telling  the story of tonight
  • When the dark comes crashing through
  • When you need a friend to carry you
  • You will be found
  • You reach up and you will rise again
  • Look around – you will be found
  • When our children tell their story
  • There will be more of us telling the story of tonight

    There is reason to believe you will be ok

Though pain and darkness the light shines through in the voices of the youth of our country. It is the feeling of hope and a brighter future that I had not heard or felt for so long. I am so sorry it had taken so much death and fear to bring this out but if this is the silver lining than our losses will not have been in vain.  “There is reason to believe you will be ok.”

And so I walk this morning under the grey skies, in the new spring snow, listeniing to the robins singing along the route as the words of Emma, Naomi and Lin-Manuel ring in my head.

Maybe there is a reason to believe we will be ok!

robin.JPG

 

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