my senses have been dulled by the cold melancholy that lurked outside my door, eventually finding its way in.

despite my best efforts, the battle was lost.

but spring comes, swooping in to rescue me, with its ropes of sunshine and cool, calm breezes that carry me outdoors,

awakening me from winter’s stupor.

One last springtime snowman-spring 2009


I’m taking a break from my normal postings to reflect on the disaster in Japan. I look at pictures on the internet and I am just in awe of the destruction.  It is absolutely impossible to wrap my mind around what the people in the devastated areas are experiencing right now.  One picture, in particular, from Samaritan’s Purse, International triggered this post.

It is a picture of an old man with a cane standing out in front of a house, looking at the house.  The house is a two story, and the second level looks like a house might look if it got a little wind damage in a passing storm, but the first level tells the story. You can literally see through the house to the other side.  All walls and windows are gone.  It reminds me of the homes that were built on stilts that I’d see growing up at the Jersey Shore . This home resembles those homes, only, it is obvious that this house wasn’t meant to look this way. It is clear from the picture that a great wall of water came and just swept that first floor away, leaving only destruction in its path.

I look at that picture, and that old man, who seems to have an interest in that particular home. Although no back story is given, one can imagine that it is perhaps his home, maybe somewhere he lived with his family, or a neighbor’s or friend’s home. How long did he live in that town? What was his job?  Did he raise children there? Did he live there all his life?  Then I think about the force that came through and destroyed that home and countless others, as well as anything else in its path.  I watch video of roads being swept away, infrastructure of cities being destroyed, airports being leveled, stores and homes and gas stations erased.

It is just amazing to consider the consequences of this destruction, because with the businesses and homes, schools and infrastructure, entire communities were swept away. Communities and social circles rise up around the tangible supports within our cities and towns.  And when the physical scaffolding of a community is removed, those relationships and social circles are also destroyed. So these people have not only lost their homes and belongings, their schools and gathering places, their places of work, they have also lost the the invaluable networks of which they were a part. The thought of rebuilding cities and towns and the communities that they supported from nothing seems an insurmountable task. The history, the exact sequences of events, that brought those communities to the point they were at on March 10, 2011 cannot be repeated. And though I am sure that eventually the displaced will have homes again, roads will be rebuilt, schools will open, I feel sorrow for them for having to start new lives.

Moving to Minnesota was traumatic enough for my family, and we can still travel back to see the place from where we came.  I can’t imagine having to start completely over, with the only reminders of your former life being the images in your head and the stories you can collect from the people who are left. I am sorry that yet another part of humanity is having to suffer in this way.

Spring Haiku


Snow is melting now.

Spring waits to burst from the ground.

Sleeping tulips wake!

Our little ones planted these with us the first October we were living in Minnesota. Just before the ground froze we rushed to get the bulbs in, so we would have an early treat in the spring.

Spring surprise

When the snow finally melts, I go to the garden and search for the leaves poking out from the ground. It’s the tulips that assure me that I have made it through another winter.

Our little gardeners

Soon my friends, soon our world will be filled with green! Just a little longer!

Being Outside, Inside…

Well, it’s March. I can’t explain to you how much March in Minnesota sucks, for lack of a better word. While 3/4 of the country is beginning to emerge from winter and enter spring, we are merely transitioning from Minnesota Winter to Normal Winter, which is winter the way the rest of the country experiences it.  You know, temps in the 30’s, lots of snow, gray skies, instead of arctic blasts, arctic sunshine, super dry air and temperatures so low they could kill you. And while all the big home improvement stores are starting to advertise for lawnmowers and fertilizer, we are left bemoaning the fact that our ground is still frozen and the grass is still covered by FEET of snow. March is a tough month for many Minnesotans, not just this transplant.  Almost everyone, except the winter diehards, is feeling it.  So, today some friends and I went for flower therapy, as my friend called it.

We traveled to Bachman’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.  Bachman’s is a big flower store chain.  The one on Lyndale is especially nice because it has within its walls Patrick’s Bakery and Cafe. The cafe is made to look like it is outside.  The ceiling is like that of a greenhouse.  There are fountains and big yellow market umbrellas over little wrought iron cafe tables.  Birds chirp and hop around while you sit.  It is an all around fabulous experience, especially in the dark of winter.

The Outside, Inside cafe

Patrick’s has delicious quiche and sandwiches, but also the most amazing pastries.  I chose the St. Tropez quiche, made with chicken, tomato and feta cheese. It was served with mixed greens and a vinaigrette dressing.

Of course the best part was dessert. We tried three. My choice was passion cake. Yes, of course I love the name. Who can’t use a little extra passion in their life? 😉 (It’s actually made with passion fruit mousse…).

Passion cake

We also tried a chocolate almond cookie cake. It tasted like a super moist chocolate chip cookie with rich and delicious chocolate.

Chocolate Almond cake

And we sampled trillogy cake (that’s how they spell it), which was an outrageous combination of three different types of mousse and proved to be a light and wonderful delicacy. It was my favorite. All were paired with coffee, which was a much better brew than I expected it to be.

Trillogy cake-yummmm

After consuming the goodies we walked around the greenhouse area, absorbing the smells of all the early spring and indoor plants and then checked out the gift area, trying the whole time not to look out the windows and see the mountains of white outside.  I left feeling refreshed, even if just for a brief interlude. It was great to escape the doldrums for an afternoon.

Indoor fountain