Seriously, where is Spring? (Yes, I know it’s still February, but come on)



It has been snowing, off and on, since December–the most spectacular storm even went so far to shut down the University and prompt people to cross-country ski into work . And then get sent home early a few hours later, but, still, cross-country ski into work.  It was not a lot of snow by Minnesota standards (not even a foot, really), but it was enough to grind the entire country to a halt in surprise and to spawn what seemed like limitless stories about the shortage of salt/grit for the roads (we still seem okay) and the number of people who would slide/freeze/ski to their deaths because of the weather (not happened yet).  Mostly, though, it really seems to have delayed the daffodils and other early warning signs of Spring that usually come along with the now slightly longer and lighter days.  The snow isn’t really sticking around, but the cold has been loathe to let go (this week, finally, we broke out of the 30’s for about ten minutes).

Even with the cold, though, it’s definitely starting to look like Spring might arrive before, you know, July–if only because some of our trees are making brave efforts to bud out, and the bird song has gotten extremely loud and raucous again. That, and the squirrels who seem to think that tap dancing on our skylight is the best way to say good morning to the world. (Of course, every time I even think the word “squirrel” I think of Pixar’s “Up” so it’s difficult to get too angry.)

I’ve been busy at work looking into the data our study is generating (hey, it turns out that students would like more contact with…people who are willing to help them learn!).  It’s been fascinating if only because there are huge assumptions about what is going on…and then there is reality. It’s been an interesting winter to say the least.

building a new life, brick by brick

bricksI’ve been in the U.K. nearly ten months now, and it has been amazing.  Rainy, snowy, sunny, exciting, (and, during driving lessons, occasionally terrifying), fun, and fascinating. Since February (when I have been keeping an “official” (okay, June is a bit shaky) tally), I have read over 150 book and started reviewing for Bookgeeks.  Who, I must say, are all sorts of awesome.

Aside from the fantastic Bookgeeks, I’ve also finally started reaching out and actively building a life here. Mostly by learning how to drive, which I must admit has been terrifying, hysterical, and frustrating all at once. The hysterical bits are usually at the beginning of the lesson when I reach for the seatbelt on the wrong side or (just the once!) stick my hand out the window while I thought I was reaching for the stick shift. Oops. Luckily, I appear to have the worlds-most-unflappable driving instructor, so he just gently corrects me, and we move on. (After telling me the story of one student who managed to drive into the centre of a roundabout and then attempt to flee the car in his stress and terror). Trust me, being a middle school teacher and being a driving instructor are closer than you might believe.  At least the fourteen year olds don’t have control of a thousand pounds of steel. Continue reading

a poem, lovely and true

YouTube – Blueberry Girl – New from Neil Gaiman.

You know those days when you wake up just a little bit…befuddled? And resistant? I tend to wake up like that when I have something to do that I don’t want to (i.e. walk to the temp agencies and try again for a job).  I’m sluggish, and slow, and can think of so many things I would rather be doing than putting on makeup and walking the 50 minutes into the city centre.  But, I want a job, and I want to go for a run before I leave today, so I blended some soy milk, a banana, and some pineapple into a smoothie and sat down and watched this gorgeous little video. Neil Gaiman’s voice (and, if you haven’t listened to his other audio books, you are missing out) combines perfectly with the gorgeous imagery and illustrations.  This little poem makes you breathe a little slower and deeper and look around at the world with optimism instead of stress. It reminds me to sit quietly, listen to what is around me, and keep trying.