Thursday, March 05, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Nine

Last night, in preparation for a forecast of 6-8 inches of heavy, wet snow expected overnight and throughout the day today, my school declared a snow day, our fourth this school year.  JT was practically euphoric because it means a math test scheduled for today converts to a take-home exam.  I was grateful for the chance to sleep in.  

When we tucked into our bed,  there was a cold rainstorm outdoors; temperatures remained above freezing.   I woke up briefly at 5:00 am and there was barely a dusting of snow when I peered out the window; temperatures had sunk to freezing.  I went back to sleep and got up three  hours later to heavy snow falling.  From the looks of it this morning, a good two fresh inches have already fallen.

I’ve been awake for two hours now and the snow hasn’t stopped.  The forecast assures me that plenty more is on the way.  We be shoveling late this afternoon but for now we’ll cuddle up with a book and enjoy what we hope is the last major snowstorm of our Winter.  That hope isn’t just my ridiculous optimism, it’s the facts on the ground around here.  For starters, my perfectly-timed amaryllis has begun to bloom.

The red flower is a bold show in a snowy window, a cheery raspberry in the face of Winter.  

Spring Break starts after school tomorrow and the two weeks off from regular classes will find me swapping out my closet and abandoning my Winter tights for Spring sweaters and scarves.  JT’s baseball teams begins daily practice tomorrow afternoon.  Saturday night, our clocks spring forward. Those are too many hopeful signs to ignore.  Tick, tock Winter.  Tick, tock.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Icy Grip

It’s the first week of March but Winter seems to understand that its time is coming to a close.  It’s not going to leave gently, however and the snowy hold continues.  With the exception of a brilliantly sunny Monday, we’ve had snow or ice (or both!) every day since March began.  Yesterday and today were icy and slushy; tonight’s forecast promises 4-8 inches of heavy wet snow of top of the snow and ice already on the ground.  The weather forecasters are warning of the coming storm, of course.  But they seem to understand how weary of winter we’ve become and so while they warn us of the approaching storm, they are promising this is it and a normal weather pattern will soon arrive.  It’s the carrot that follows the weather stick.

I know that this can’t last forever; soon enough I’ll be back in flip flops.  Until then I might as well admire the beauty in Winter.

Monday, March 02, 2015


The year JT was born, late Winter found me making the trip 35 miles west each week to take my baby to be weighed by the pediatrician’s office.  After that visit, we’d stop by the grocery store for our weekly shopping before we’d head back to our small hometown.  At the grocery store that March, they had bouquets of fresh daffodils for $2.  Each week, I chose a bouquet to bring home with me, enjoying those flowers as my baby steadily grew.  This week, my Wegmans market had daffodil bouquets.  I picked one up as I shopped in advance of yesterday’s snowstorm.  It will cheer up our snowy March and remind me of the Winter not that long ago when I had a baby by my side.

That’s happy!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

March 1: Peach Tree

Last week was cold but the days were sunny.  Winter is making a return today and the week’s forecast promises more snow and ice.  But I am treating the arrival of March like a treasured event.  It signals a lot of things worth celebrating: JT has started baseball practice; Spring Break starts on March 6; next weekend we move our clocks forward and enjoy more evening light; in 21 days, Spring officially arrives.  Spring.  In my world, those are some heady and most-welcome developments.  Even so, for now the backyard remains still.

The peach tree’s corner has snow.  More is on the way, confirming March’s reputation as the month that comes in like a Lion.  But we’ve turned our calendars nonetheless and that means the season of cold stillness is coming to a close.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Successful Season

Baseball is JT’s first sporting love.  He’s been dreaming of being a part of our school’s baseball team since he first began playing Little League.  That’s a lot of time to dream and the arrival of the baseball season seems a bit unreal.  Unreal or not, baseball practice begins next week.  This week, in preparation for the season, gear was distributed.  Yesterday, he came home with his uniform, complete with his name and number on the back.  He took it directly upstairs and hung it is his closet.  That is the first time he’s hung an item of clothes in his closet without a specific order from me.

The baseball season is already a terrific success.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Eight

Each morning when I get up, the amaryllis awaits me at the foot of the stairs, sitting on a plant stand facing the window.  When the sun begins to pinken the sky, the amaryllis will have a first glimpse of the light.  The sun is coming up sooner and sooner each morning, a welcome sign of Spring.  We are tantalizingly close to a bloom on the bulb.  Even as the cold tightened its grip on us this month, the flower determined to show itself.

One morning soon the bulb will bloom, a most welcome development as this bitterly cold Winter considers releasing its grip on us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Willpower and Winter

Because of my well-established aversion to pants, my Winter wardrobe requires a collection of tights to keep my legs warm.  I stock up in September and eagerly await the first cool weather in November.  When temps in the low 50s arrive, I happily pull out my tights and feel toasty.

As the Winter drags on, the tights and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love that they keep me warm and match my skirts and dresses.  I hate the way that they sometimes feel uncomfortable and binding.  Invariably, there are a few mornings when I get them on twisted and spend an entire unpleasant day with an uncomfortable tight feeling behind my knee.  By January, I no longer welcome a morning wrestle with my tights.  In February, I start counting down the days until I need not wear them again, blaming them for the time they take from my morning.  It’s worth noting that while I take account of the weather in the Fall and don’t pull on tights until the temperatures are cold enough to require them, come March, I don’t give a damn about the weather.  In my tiny mind, March means Spring and Spring means I don’t have to wear tights anymore.  

By mid-February, I have my eye on the calendar in preparation to give up tights for the season.  We have Spring Break for the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March and during that time, I will pack up the tights and switch over my closet to warmer- weather clothing.  No matter how cold late March is, I will not wear tights again.  In the Middle School, sneakers are allowed and so I will bridge the chill gap with sneakers and socks.  Sometimes, they will match my blue legs.  But the tights will be gone, no longer tormenting my mornings.  

Should the days remain a bit chilly, a likely prospect considering the last few months around here, there’s always my pride to keep me warm.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I know that it’s temporary, but after last night’s 6 inches of snow finished falling, sunlight and warmth drifted our way late this morning.  It’s 42 degrees as of this writing and a day that started covered in icy white has begun to mellow.  However temporary, the melting on our streets and sidewalks is a welcome reminder that this winter can’t last forever.  

When I lived in rural northeast Nebraska, and a slightly warmer wind came blowing our way toward the close of Winter, we called it the Chinook and it generally signaled warmth to come.  I know today’s Northeastern Chinook won’t last because I’ve seen the forecast for our next 10 days.  But right now it feels lovely, as if Spring is just around the corner.

We’ll take it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pantone Color of 2015: Marsala

Pantone’s color of 2015 is Marsala, known to the rest of us as maroon.  If you want to be more bold, we could go with dark red.  Pantone, of course, is hoping you don’t take my simpleton’s approach.  They want you to embrace the color and the idea of Marsala.  And they want you to head right out to the mall and buy truckloads of Marsala clothes, Marsala accessories, Marsala appliances, and Marsala furniture.  Seriously, what in hell are you waiting for?  BUY SOME MARSALA.

Pantone is stepping up its press release game this year, as you can see for yourself.  However, if you’re the type to loll about while others gather facts and do the hard work for you, I can sum it up.  Marsala will enrich your mind, body and soul and help you to exude, “confidence and stability.”  It’s “dramatic” and “grounding.”  I don’t like to point fingers, but that’s a damn sight more effective than the therapist you’ve been seeing for years.  Imagine how many Marsala-hued goods all those co-pays will buy you?

Marsala is “sophisticated”, “stylish”, and “natural.”  You could do worse.  Much to my dismay, Marsala doesn’t take a hit on last year’s color of the year.  I guess that time-honored act of Pantone passive aggressiveness has gone the way of 2014 and Radiant Orchid.  That’s personal growth, Marsala, the kind of growth that can only be achieved by your “embracing warmth” and the “radiance” you exude.  Good for you, Marsala!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Your Weekly Amaryllis: Week Seven

Mardi Gras was this week and that means only six weeks until Easter.  The calendar promises that Spring will officially arrive in four weeks.  In two weeks, we spring our clocks forward, adding more sunlight to the end of our days.  Today, pitchers and catchers report for the start of Spring training.  Despite these very promising signs of Spring, this morning dawned a cold 13 degrees.  It's supposed to drop below 0 tonight.  We’ve had snow on the ground for more than a month and one of the coldest Februarys in New Jersey history.  On a day like today, it’s rather hard to believe  Spring will ever arrive.

Thank goodness for the amaryllis, which is faithfully seeking the sun and growing taller each day.  The promise of a bloom looms large.

That’s happy!