Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Joys of April

After an especially hard week, I treated myself to a spa pedicure on Friday afternoon.  Today, while I sat on the front steps getting ready to put on my yard work shoes and cut the grass, I looked at my feet and realized that my summer flip flop tan line hasn’t faded out completely.

There’s something quite hopeful about such a revelation.
  In my daydreams of late, I imagine day after day of flip flops and some real time off this summer.  Reservations have been made and my packing list is ready.  That is a most happy prospect for me to contemplate.  In the meantime, April has pink tulips.

Iris blooms.

And lush, green grass to be cut.
  Here’s to the first mow of the season and to the many more to follow.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Putting Patriarchy on Notice

When I was a Junior in high school - at age 16 - I complained about the way some male classmates were treating me and the Assistant Principal told me to toughen up; that boys would be boys.

I told him to fuck off.

Yes, that is the language that I used.  He called my dad, who for once used less profanity than I employed.  But my dad stood up for me, though in more diplomatic terms.

The event is cemented in my mind because that was the moment my general desire to leave my hometown became a vow to myself: I would get out.  In those days, patriarchy was inextricably mixed with my understanding of my hometown and it’s old-fashioned ways.  Now, nearly 40 years later, I know that patriarchy isn’t just the condition of small town America, it is the condition of all America.

I am 53 and the willingness of men to continue to demand that women wait their turn and be grateful to simply sit at the table is infuriating.  It’s not all men; it’s not all places.  For example, I couldn’t be more pleased that President Biden has moved so aggressively to promote women and women’s issues in his vision of America.  That it’s not just lip service is truly promising.  

But Biden’s attitude and his willingness to take action is not the approach of every person with power; it’s certainly not the approach of every man in power.  And it’s nowhere near the majority point of view in this nation.  I have grown weary of the struggle; of the fight to have a seat at the table and to be honestly valued when I am there.  

The pandemic has reduced my patience for the disregard and ill-treatment of women.  It has made me think about how I need to restructure my investment in relationships and institutions where patriarchy reigns supreme.  There was once a time when I was willing to play my part and wait it out, convinced that patriarchy was on the wane.  But I am not 16 or 25 or even 40 anymore.  And I am no longer willing to wait.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hopelessly Behind, Again

Postings have been light of late because, as seems to be my pattern in the past year, I have gotten behind.  I feel sad when I get behind because this blog and the writings that fill it are a source for real happiness to me.  In the coming weeks, I will get half-completed posts to completion and then get them posted.    So please stay tuned, regular readers, updates are coming…..

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Flower Whisperer

March is such an expectant month and each year I am convinced that my longing for flowers and blooms has reached a new high.  This year is no exception and when T and I spied crocuses getting ready to bloom last weekend I couldn’t help myself from popping by today.  Things are coming along nicely.

Very nicely indeed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Spring Adventures: D&R Canal in March

After some cold months, T and I are back to our weekend walks in the woods.  Last weekend, after a few days of unusual warmth, we headed to our favorite spot on the D&R Canal.  We like this location all the time, but especially at twilight this time of the year when the Spring peepers can be heard.  The canal is quiet at twilight and the reflection of the trees is lovely.  The trees are not yet ready to leaf out, but when I look closely the signs of Spring are there.

On this Saturday evening, as we got ready to turn our clocks ahead, the most hopeful sign of Spring was the sound of the peepers. Last year, the state had an 8 pm curfew and we were eager to do our part so we didn’t hear the peepers very much.  This year, feels more hopeful for a lot of reasons but especially because we could hear the peepers as we enjoyed the last of the sunlight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tulip Tuesday

The forced bulbs are coming along nicely.  I expect the morning sunlight they receive in this spot is helpful.

Everywhere I go, I keep my eyes peeled for bulbs peeking through the soil.
  March is such an expectant month - always - but especially now as I watch fro flowers even as I track the daily vaccines given in my state.  It feels like we are in a race and I hope that we can win.

Friday, March 12, 2021

March 12: A Pandemic Anniversary

One year ago today, school closed for Spring Break a day early.  I came to work on Friday the 13th to halls empty of students (how is that for a harbinger of what was to come?) and attended an administrative meeting where the decision was made that school would be remote for the first week after Spring Break.   We were taking things one day at a time but I knew then that one week would not be enough.  As I sat in my quiet office, I realized we would not be back in the school hallways for the rest of the school year.

As the fearful quiet took hold, I scanned history documents and made copies of everything I could possibly need to finish out the year teaching from home.  Then I packed it all in my car and took school home.  I remember that it was sunny and warm; the kind of beautiful Spring day that makes you feel unbelievably lucky to be alive.  That day, before the full fear had taken hold, it felt like I could take my luck for granted.

At the time, I thought we’d all pause for a bit to “flatten the curve” (remember that phrase?) but surely would be back in school by September.  In hindsight, that confidence seems naive.  From my perspective today, one year in to the pandemic, am glad of the naïveté.  On March 12, 2020, I was afraid and willing to pause but I was nowhere near ready to embrace the challenge and sadness the next year would bring.

Today feels so much different than March 2020.  For one thing, I am among the lucky few 11% of the people in New Jersey to be fully vaccinated.  I feel incredibly hopeful about the pace of vaccines in my state; we are now putting out 500k a week and in a state with 7 million vaccine-eligible adults, that is moving fast.  The nation has reached the point of a steady 2 million shots a day.  All of that is hopeful.  My state still has a daily case load that causes me concern - most days, we are at 3,000 new positives.  Over the past year, more than 21,000 of us have died.  New Jersey’s cautious re-opening continues and my family’s even more cautious approach continues as we wait for T and JT to receive their vaccine.

Last March, I hoped for a vaccine by the close of 2020 and felt confident that we would be able to successfully flatten the curve to wait that out.  I was wrong about our national ability to successfully flatten the curve and that inability has cost us dearly.  More than 525,000 people are known to have died of Covid-19 in this nation, a number that is an astounding testament to our inability to work toward the common good for one another.  That tragedy may be the greatest lesson of all, though right now we are unable to collectively learn from it.

Spring Break starts this afternoon and this year feels different.  I will have some time off - a break that is sorely needed - and the perspective of this past year has taught me a great deal.  In no particular order, it has taught me that resilience must be nurtured; that good leadership matters; to say I love you as often as the opportunity arises; to be grateful for science; to count my blessings and turn my face to the light whenever I can find it.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Flowers at Midweek!

This day is the halfway mark on the last week before Spring Break.  Flowers are in order and for a whole bunch of reasons.

It’s sunny today and temps may actually exceed 60 degrees.

I am wearing a Spring dress (with a warm cardigan - of course - but still……)

This school year has been so damn hard and the approaching Spring Break will get us over the hump to the last part of the year.  I don’t like to wish away time but teaching hybrid in a pandemic is ridiculously difficult for all of us - students, teachers, and parents.  The weeks we have been remote were also hard but remote is nothing compared to the challenge of teaching hybrid.  The other side of Spring Break is just nine weeks of April and May instruction, all more bearable because the end is in sight.

Last year’s Spring Break was no break for me as the school frantically set up for remote homebound remote instruction.  This year’s Break promises some actual time off.  Add to that the chance for some enjoyable meanderings in New Jersey, thanks to the fact that I am vaccinated, and I am giddy about the coming break.    

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Tulip Tuesday

T gave me bulb-forcing vases for Christmas and a few weeks ago, I put some tulip bulbs to work.  

They are making progress and I am best-pleased about that.
  For the next few Tuesdays, I plan to check in with my tulip bulbs to see how things are going along.

Amaryllis Tuesday: March 9

This will be the last amaryllis post of 2021, as the flowers are beginning to fade.

But they kept me company through our snowy February and saw me through to the earliest signs of Spring.  After a rainy close to February, last week was sunny and this week promises some days of sun and actual warmth, capped off by our Spring forward on the 14th.  The days are gaining light at both sunrise and sunset, a happy development indeed.