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It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily—open eyes, braid hair—
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.

And yes, it is a simple enough task
we’ve taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,

from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not
be blinded by the praising.
To lie like a cat in hot
sun, fur fully blazing,

and dream the mouse;
and to keep too the mouse’s patient, waking watch
within the deep rooms of the house,
where the leaf-flocked

sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.

“The Task” by Jane Hirshfield, from The October Palace. © Harper Perennial, 1994. Reprinted with permission.

2016-10-12-15-10-30

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I’ve joined something called Write31Days, which challenges bloggers to write every day in October.  Somewhat like NaNoWriMo, but no novel.  Better for me in any case.

So since I haven’t blogged since, what, 2014? I decided it was high time for me to get back to it.  I don’t know what all I have to say, but I’m sure once I get started I’ll have plenty.  Goodness knows I have no lack of soapboxes, anyway.

Topics I think I’ll be talking about this month:

  • Women’s ordination — it’s become a HUGE issue in my church
  • Diet/exercise — I’m trying to lose the ## I gained last year from stress eating and not exercising in my new job
  • Vacation pics, etc. with friends — we’ve got friends from MN coming to visit in a week.
  • Cooking and/or baking — my usual!
  • Updates on life in general
  • School
  • Poetry, maybe
  • Pictures of our new house

Yes, that’s the first update! My last post, in May 2014, pretty much leaves out the whole year teaching 4th grade at the Catholic school in north Minneapolis (in defense, I WAS pretty much socked into the classroom!), and….drumroll…our move last year to Tucson, Arizona!  Ok, you can pick your jaws up off the floor (those of you who didn’t know we moved, that is).  Yes, the Maine girl moved to the desert.  Yes, I’m ok.  Yes, there ARE trees here, just short ones.  And did I mention the MOUNTAINS!!??!!

tucson-mountains-1

Last July I accepted a job, very last-minute, as a 3/4 ESL (ELD) teacher at an arts magnet school in Tucson.  A year later, we’ve sold our MN house (just yesterday), Kent is working on AZ licensure to teach here, and I’m two months into my second school year at the same school, teaching (gasp) the same subjects!  We have a house we like (and more every day as Kent is fixing it up), a church we like, and are getting to know people in the area we like too.  We’ve had lots of visitors, all wanting to experience AZ, and things are looking up, finally.

So that’s the last couple years in a nutshell.  We’ll talk more later.

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april showers

lace is overrated

So we’re up to the third snowstorm in oh, a week and a half.  I’m looking out my window at the dropping dusk and watching the too-familiar white lace build up on my favorite maple tree.

It’s pretty.  It is.  I love winter. But — can I just be a little frustrated?  I would have loved it twice or three times as much in November, when the days were darkening and everything was so brown and dead I lit five or more candles on the kitchen table where I was working and nursed cup after cup of hot tea.  November.  December.  Sure, January or February too, though by that time the winter had gotten itself going and we at least had some snow to look at.  But April?  April 22, no less; Earth Day, when schoolchildren everywhere are supposed to go out and plant a tree or a flower, or even a few seeds!

Yeah.  Instead, we had a lowering day going to rain with snow spitting in, and then just flat-out snow.  It’s supposed to get as much as nine inches of wet, slushy, mess.  Last week the weather forecaster called it a “slop storm” — that was for the second one.  Now we’re on to the third.  Anyone who knows me knows I like snow, but everything has a time and a place.  It’s just plain depressing to look out at the tail-end of April and see fresh snow (maybe that should be the “back-end”?).

So I’m carrying my laundry up the stairs, thinking about how I’ll have to go out in the slush in a few minutes and wondering just what exactly I’m annoyed about anyway.  I mean, a month ago this snow wouldn’t have been such an issue (it also wouldn’t have been as wet, but that’s another thing).  Snow in the end of March, at least at the latitudes where I grew up and now live, is…par for the course. Business as usual.  Even into the beginning of April, sure.  But I have expectations.  I expect that somewhere in April, the mysterious alchemy of Spring will start creeping up AND NOT STOP.  That’s probably part of the problem right there.  Just as I start to see grass, whomp! another snowstorm.  Delayed gratification?  Or dashed hopes?  Something.

But I was thinking too, why do I like snow in the first place?  It’s pretty.  Most of the time, too, the weather is crisp and invigorating.  Snowy days make me want to go play outside, then come in and curl up with a blanket and a book, some hot tea, and maybe a candle or some Christmas lights.  (Got the Christmas lights — still.  Don’t judge.)  I still have books, candles, tea, blankets, and a comfy beanbag.  I didn’t ditch those when March blew out the door.  I don’t particularly want to go play in the squishy mess outside, but I can skip straight to the snuggling anytime.  So why the annoyance with this late spring snow?

Back in March, when I went to the Christian women’s conference, one of the workshops was about how to fight disappointment.  The speaker’s main point was if you don’t make unrealistic expectations (and, incidentally, also forget to tell other people about them), you will have less disappointment in your life.  I don’t actually think it is *that* unrealistic to expect sunny (sunnier?) days and the beginnings of spring in April — we actually did have it last year.  But it is unrealistic, in my admittedly not vast life experience to expect spring in Maine or Minnesota to just sweep over the land without a few hiccups along the way.  So this is more along the lines of a large belch (or snow vomit?), rather than a hiccup.  I should still stop complaining.  At least I’m not looking out from the underside of a bridge or something, right?

But the other reason I thought that I might be longing for spring so much, aside from the months of winter we’ve just had, is that this year, spring to me has a lot more riding on it than balmy weather and a profusion of lilacs.  Those are wonderful on their own, I will be the first to admit, but Kent also reminded me that I am the first to complain about the heat and humidity of summer.  (No, I don’t like most of Minnesota’s weather, actually.  Yes, we aren’t planning on living here much longer that we have to, why do you ask?)  No, the reason(s) I’m really looking forward to spring are more — careerish than sun-tannish.

I finally have my ESL license (got the e-mail the same day I found out my grandfather died — not surprised it didn’t get a lot of media attention…), so this spring/summer is when I’ll hopefully land a full-time job for next year! Four (more) years of cleaning toilets done!  (Then I can complain about grading…)  So my hopes are riding on what spring will bring to me financially, after six years of living very close to disaster — a chance to actually MAKE a budget and then, of course, stick to it, because it will include space to, say, buy new running shoes or go out to eat once in a while.  Not that we didn’t do those things, these last years — we did.  But we’ve also run up a bunch of credit card debt in the process.  It will feel a lot better to me to say, “I can save up for this pair of shoes — that is in the budget”, rather than “I need a new pair of shoes but I have no money; I guess I’ll have to add that to the card.”

So spring to me means sunshine, flowers, a chance to go OUTSIDE without burying my face in my scarf/collar/hair, training for a marathon, hiking, and all the other wonderfulness that spring means to those of us who live in the cold and frozen northlands.  But this year, I guess I just want spring to come so I can feel secure.  Given that reason, I guess it doesn’t really matter that there’s another helping of slush piling up outside.  The job will come when it comes.  Just like spring.

Hey, at least I’m not under a bridge…

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TEA

 

“something beginning with T”

I usually call this ‘my tea thing’ so that counts, right?

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hot

 

“hot”

This was my brother David’s gift to us this year — an iron teapot and two cups. 🙂  The nutcase candle is mine.

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little bit of joy

 

“joy is: _____________”

A cup of tea and a couple fresh cookies…one made by a friend and mailed with LOVE .  And time to sit and enjoy…

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where i live

 

“from where I live”

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