March forth (better late than never*)

Sure, it could snow again but it feels like spring has sprung here in central Minnesota. The snow is melting, leaving a soggy mess behind on my lawn–which is still littered with horse chestnuts.

I have only Sunday off this week which makes the week feel super long . . . but next weekend I’ll have three days off, so that’s something to look forward to.

I meant to post something in January when I had a birthday . . . noting that I am now closer to sixty than to fifty. A high school girl at work was asking me how old my children were and I could feel her brain shuffling me into a different category when I said my oldest kids are nearly 28. I went from co-worker to old fogey, I think. It kind of made me laugh inside.

At least my husband–and some friends–pave the way so I’m not the oldest person in the room all the time.

Well, that’s it for now. I have to go to work.

*This is my life motto. That and “Stay Calm and Carry On.” And “This, too, shall pass.” Apparently I have a lot of life mottos.

Surely (I do not jest)

Not long ago, I heard songs that reminded me of college. I was back in a practice room, music surrounding me like a fog. I had half-forgotten the power of music but in an instant, I remembered. Music and the people I knew then are intertwined. Dan Fogelberg will always remind me of my friend, Lisa. Chicago (the band) takes me right back to the roller skating rink in Springfield.

A few days later, I tried to combat a sleepless night with lullabies (J.J. Heller, if you must know) . . . but the songs that had comforted me back in San Diego flooded me with the restless loneliness, the stress of our impending move, the uncertainties that soaked me to the bone. I turned it off because I did not need to be back in that headspace.

Some of my favorite songs are those that played on the radio in the seventies. I remember my dad singing along in the car while I sat in the backseat, looking out the windows. Killing Me Softly and Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head bring my dad to me, if only for a few minutes at a time. (Funny thing, though, is that I didn’t really grow up listening to much music. I preferred playing the piano and eventually starting singing along with my barely passable piano playing. I even wrote some songs in college–mostly cringe-worthy–and then recorded them on a cassette and tucked that part of myself away when I got married.)

But music takes me on journeys and I take music on my journeys, too. (Last summer, I listened to the new Taylor Swift album while driving across the southwest . . . I had saved it just for that purpose.)

-*-*-*-

I woke up to surprise snow today. Yesterday, I noticed that the melting snow had revealed portions of our lawn. The white covered hills had turned a drab brown, but today everything was bright white again with a brilliant blue sky. Somewhere around 4-5 inches fell, so instead of running errands today, I stayed put and tried to sew. I mean, I did sew, but my forty-five year old sewing machine gave me a lot of trouble (with its tension) and the new-to-me machine that I bought in San Diego from Facebook Marketplace didn’t work at ALL, so I started with the forty-five year old machine, switched to the newer machine, then switched back. I cobbled together a bag for my daughter (a car trash bag) and it looks cute from a distance, but I have to get a new machine before I move forward.

And that took up a large part of my day.

My husband went to Texas on a trip delayed by 10 days . . . he was originally scheduled to go on the day that the cold weather blustered into Texas, so his original flight was canceled. Anyway, while he’s gone I’m trying to get to a bunch of stuff that gets neglected around here (plus I have three days off in a row), so the sewing machine fiasco was a big time waster, but what can you do? Just move forward.

This week here, the weather is supposed to warm up. Supposedly it will be fifty degrees next week. I guess the end of winter is in sight. I survived my first Minnesota winter. Yay, me.

Okay, that’s all. I’m AGAIN going to try to get back to this blog on a regular basis. I miss writing. Does writing miss me?

Snow is falling

I slept terribly last night even though I was tired. All night I kept working in my dream, putting merchandise on shelves. I worked (in real life) until 10:15 PM and so by the time I did fall asleep, it was late and my adult son woke us at 8:00 AM asking my husband if he wanted eggs. Is there anything more aggravating than being awakened from a fitful sleep?

After that I couldn’t sleep again, not really. So I’ve been puttering around, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen (!), and filling out paperwork. I’m telling you, it’s an exciting life.

I’m going into tonight’s shift a little fatigued and wondering how the roads will be when I am finished working at 10:00 PM. We are gearing up for inventory next week in addition to processing an enormous shipment of product so we’ll be busy even if customers stay home this afternoon and evening.

Well. I guess that’s all.

Farewell and godspeed.

Full circle

They met in Brainerd, Minnesota sometime before 1926. He was thirty and she was twenty and it was true love. They were married in 1926 and stayed married for 61 years until he died. She lived without him for another twenty-one years until she died at age 102.

By the time I was a child, they lived in a single-wide “manufactured home” with some added-on rooms, porches and a deck. I was terribly impressed–to me, it was grandma and grandpa’s peaceful house with beautiful plants and Lladró pieces sitting on top of their upright piano. They no longer lived in Minnesota–they’d spent most of their adult lives in North Dakota and then migrated to the Pacific Northwest in the 1960s. That’s where they lived in that little green house with the gooseberry bush in the back yard and calla lilies along the garage wall. Huge Rhododendron bushes grew on each side of the back porch. Grandma also grew roses and hung laundry to dry in the back yard.

Grandpa was a preacher. He had semi-retired by the time I came along but was still on staff at a church as the “visitation” pastor. He and my grandma visited the elderly in nursing homes, occasionally bringing us along to stand up front and sing church songs to the old people.

Both of my grandparents have been gone now–grandpa died the week after I was married. Grandma died in 2008.

And yet, I feel an odd closeness to them because we have come full circle. We are now living about an hour from Brainerd. The people here feel like my people. The gray-haired ladies I cut fabric for at work could be my relatives and I am always mindful of that when I exercise patience and help them pick out colors or yarn or ask them what they are making.

My own parents met at college in the Twin Cities but fled from these northern states soon after they married, eager to trade in a snow shovel for an umbrella, but it’s weird, isn’t it, that I have somehow landed back in the place where my story started?

The longer you live, the more you get to see how things turn out, which is one of my favorite things about getting older. (This is the last month in which I will be closer to fifty than to sixty. Now THAT is weird.) What a story it’s been, this life.

Night shift

It’s not exactly a night shift, but a closing shift. I work from 1 PM to 9 PM today, though my boss told me I could come in early but why would I do that? This morning I slept in, showered and dressed, moved the kitty accoutrements out of my office, Swiffered the floor, put away clean dishes and filled the dishwasher, dumped frozen meatballs in the CrockPot for dinner (though I won’t be here) and put all the Christmas lights into tubs. They’d been sitting on the floor, literally strewn all over the entryway and living room (which is all just a big rectangle) so they could dry . . . and today was the day that I tucked them all into bins.

Oh, why, you ask, were “kitty accoutrements” in my office? Well, the kitties were neutered Monday and kept confined to my office overnight. It was the only room in the house where they could be imprisoned. They are back to their normal selves. Pup, in fact, had an ear infection and so got antibiotics and he seems much better. He has been sickly since we picked him up from the farm where he was born. (“Barn cats,” as I’m learning, tend to be sickly.)

Anyway, now I am going to leave a little early so I can return a dress to Macy’s. I had hoped to do even more but as usual, I always think I can accomplish more than time allows.

Pre-surgery

In case you were wondering, the forecasted high temperature for today is 39 degrees. And tomorrow, there’s an 80% chance of snow.

The end.

What you can see

Winter reveals the structure of the world and the paths of creatures that might have been hidden in another season. That’s what I thought while I was driving down the road the other day, admiring the bare trees. I’m kind of loving it, even though so many native Minnesotans seemed to doubt my sanity when I declared that I wasn’t afraid of winter.

(So, I am afraid of driving in a blizzard but that’s another thing entirely, am I right?)

Admittedly, it’s been a kinder and gentler winter here in central Minnesota, or so I’m told. We’ve had temperatures above freezing a few times and my husband tells me that next week it will get up to 39 degrees. I’m mean, that’s practically short sleeve weather around here.

(Tomorrow they get “fixed.” Shhh. It’s a surprise.)

Today I took my Christmas lights down outside and while I was doing so, a woman walked by and told me that she voted for my house in the neighborhood Christmas Lights contest. She said anyone could just put up inflatables, even though the house with a yard full of them won. I thanked her and wished I could have seen her more clearly but I couldn’t because I was wearing my up-close glasses.

I’m blaming my age for my vision dilemma. I can see to read without any correction at all. However, I need glasses to see a computer clearly or to read anything at an arm’s distance. But if I wear “distance” glasses, I can’t see those things well at all. So I constantly switch glasses. At work–because most of my work is up-close, I wear the up-close glasses so I can see three to six feet away.

I know. I know. I need new glasses. It’s on the agenda for this year. Bi-focals, I imagine. I used to wear contacts almost exclusively, but they stopped working when I couldn’t see close up or at arm’s length or at a distance all at once. Meanwhile, the world is blurry either here or there.

*

I just finished reading (in two days) Leave the World Behind. I even took my Kindle to work to read on my lunch break because I just Had To Know. (I love a disaster/dystopian novel.)

Now I’m reading The Hiding Place. I thought I read this when I was a kid but it seems entirely new to me, though I know the ultimate story (holocaust survival).

Post Christmas sale

Today at work I was assigned the task of moving the remaining Christmas merchandise from the front of the store to the “clearance wall” in the back of the store. It’s now 90 percent off.

There was less than half a row of scattered, mostly broken items plus a lot of strange Christmas ornaments. This task took me the entire day. The whole day!

(My son built this tiny sad snowman)

I had to hang shelves and hooks. Customers constantly needed me to help them find items or to cut fabric. I repeatedly pushed my cart back and forth to move the stuff.

I arranged everything and dusted and swept and finally finished when my shift ended. I was both proud and horrified by my final display. I did what I was told and arranged it as carefully and neatly as possible but it looks the the world’s saddest collection of misfit toys—elves without ears, ballerinas without legs, chipped mugs and cracked plates. All for 90% off!

Now I am very tired. I came home and made an easy dinner of ravioli and canned green beans.

Despite all that effort, I only walked 10,000 steps at work today.

And that’s how my day went.

Balancing act

I really don’t know how people balance work and the rest of their lives. I worked until 9:15 PM and thus, did not cook dinner. In fact, all I did when I got home was have a snack, take a bath and go to bed. (I did a little reading, too.)

Before work, I paid bills, washed a few dishes and ate lunch.

(My street before the street slush melted)

And that concludes my day’s achievements.

Now I must sleep so I can get back to work by 8:45 AM.

I guess I am unbalanced. Ha.

Taxi driver

I drove my son to the airport today. It was a balmy 38 degrees.

While I was in “The Cities,” I stopped by IKEA, Trader Joe’s and a Goodwill. I probably won’t be back there for months.

(Pointless cat photo)

By the time I got home, it was dark.

Tomorrow it’s back to work for me. It’s “truck day,” the day of the week the merchandise we ordered comes in and needs to be put away. It’s my favorite day because I like stocking my department with new items.

And that’s all the news that’s for to print.

Hey, some days are boring but here I am anyway.