Poetry 11-30 G-gold-1

golden sunrise

in my eyes

sky’s ablaze

with magic rays

gold medal day

is under way

spring stands still

air is chill

sun is warm

will soon transform

lift our moods

winter concludes

Poetry 11-30 G-gold-2



Winter weather, whoa!

April 11, 2013


Spring has not sprung. I was willing to overlook the fact that I wore longjohns and a parka to the Minnesota Twins baseball season opener. I don’t even mind that I can’t wear shorts yet—though many break them out as soon as the temperature hits 40F/5C. This is Minnesota, after all.

Mother Nature teased us with mild daytime highs last week. They were a little below average but still warm enough for people to wear shorts and to inspire me to drag my bicycle out of the storage room. It was an exciting development to pedal to work for the first time in months. After work I stopped at the local bike shop to enquire about a spring tune-up. I was told of my bike’s immanent demise, that I would be lucky if the thing didn’t fall apart right under me, and that with the labor and parts for the required complete overhaul, it would be less than $100 more to just purchase a new one. But I digress.

My friend Jon is hardcore and bikes everywhere all year. Even he was optimistic enough about the weather to make the switch from his winter beater bike to his nicer summer ride.

None of this was meant to be. The temperature went back down to around freezing and for days we listened to dire predictions about a late winter storm. Yesterday the drizzle began. Jon showed up on (I think he said) his wife’s beater bike because he had stored his already. An Instagram friend lamented that he’d have to switch the summer wheels on his car back to the winter. People do that? Another friend, Brad, was not looking forward to his #30DaysOfBiking ride after he got home last night.

I had been keenly radar-watching all day. The system was moving very slowly and Minneapolis was above freezing. I brashly predicted that the forecasts of six to twelve inches of snow would not materialize, that it wouldn’t be nearly that bad. I’d had a meteorology class in college in 1983, after all. Were you even born then? You would have seen me walking my dinosaur.

By the time I went to bed, the radar had bloomed. I knew I’d wake up to whiteness in the morning. I did.

ImageFortunately, the temperature hasn’t been spending much time below freezing. There were about 3 inches/8 cm of slushy snow on my sidewalk and it was raining snow. On the radio, the traffic updates reported slick entrance and exit ramps, and “too many spin-outs to mention them all.” I knew that in downtown Minneapolis where I live and work, things would be sloppy but the urban heat island effect would preclude too much slipperiness. What I wasn’t expecting to hear was that light rail trains were not in service because of ice build-up. In the eight winters that I’ve lived where I can use the light rail, I’ve never heard of service being suspended for any weather-related reason. Metro Transit does a nice job with the rail line. And really, the buses, too.

I personally was not put out by this storm. I don’t drive my car very much, and I certainly don’t drive it to work. I train, bus, bike, walk. I got to work this without too much inconvenience, except for having to wait while the Brothers Deli cooked my breakfast because I failed to phone ahead.


“Look closely ….. that’s the amount of rain we received last year June through October.” Photo by Bossy Acres. They grow organic vegetables. Get some this summer.

Sure, I might wish for milder temperatures and dry roads so that I can continue riding my dilapidated bicycle. But let’s all of us put aside the selfishness of our personal comfort and conditions for a moment and think about the bigger picture. Though it sucks to get a major snowstorm in April, for sure (and let’s face it, if it were 50F/10C and had been raining for a week, we’d still be whining), let’s remember the inconvenient fact that since last summer, Minnesota is in drought. Our late snowfalls and slow temperature warm-up are a boon for the farmers who put food on our tables. The slower melt reduces flood risk, which means more of the water can be absorbed into the ground rather than just running off. In a couple of months when you’re walking around your local farmers market in your Crocs with your wild children, you’ll be thankful.



“Priority parking shoveled out.” Photo by Harriet Brewing. They make Belgian-style beers. Go drink some.

This is Minnesota. If you’re going to live here, you must have a sense of humor about the weather, whatever it is and whenever it’s occuring. Just look at this photo posted by local brewery Harriet Brewing. They know people like Jon will still be out on their bikes, even in these shit conditions. This too shall pass.

Chillin???, er, chilly

May 27, 2011


It is May 26 and I have just turned my heat on. Why, you ask? Is it because I live in the southern hemisphere and it’s winter? Is it because I forgot to shut the refrigerator door? No, it’s because my place is old and drafty.

I live in a rowhouse which was built in the 1890s. It’s very solid and heavy, but I have a feeling that the ground it occupies is not all that solid. Consequently, the building must be constantly shifting as it settles its 115-year-old self. I’m on the ground level and my cement floor has become more and more uneven as my five and a half years of residence have passed.

We are in the northern hemisphere, and spring has been a little stingy about having consistently seasonally temperatures. The sun is high and warm if you’re basking in it, but the air temperature has mostly on the cool side of the average. But I was still running the heat regularly until two weeks ago. And it was just five days ago that I allowed myself to be publicly excited about not having had it on for a whole week! Then, a couple of chilly evenings and tonight I’m reaching for the On switch.

My place takes its time warming up in the spring. I suppose that’s mostly because of all the tiny cracks that must exist in the walls and door and window frame from its age and unsteady footing. Sometimes I wonder if the floorplan has a little to do with it, too, although I can’t imagine that would really be relevant.

Being a rowhouse, the space is long, narrow, and open, with no full interior walls. The floorplan was one of the things that attracted me to it. Of course the bathroom is enclosed, and there are a couple of nice walk-in closets with walls. Three half walls help with the rest of the load-bearing duties. But I have no rooms and no doors. Privacy is tricky when I have visitors.

I drew the diagram above when I bought the place so that I could plan things. You’re seeing the paint color layer. The sitting room and living room have since become known more basically as the front room and the middle room. I’m nothing if not practical.

Practicality is probably part of causes me to whine about turning the heat on tonight. By the end of May, you’d sure think you wouldn’t have to any more. It’s a psychological thing. But I sure will take this kind of weather any time over the inevitable temperature destination that will have me turning the air conditioning on.

Signs of spring

December 11, 2010


This evening, as snowfall begins that’s predicted to be the heaviest in ten years, I thought we’d review some signs of spring and both reminisce about and look forward to happier times.

As spring approaches, the sun creeps higher and higher in the sky and the mercury inches up in the thermometer. There is no surer indication that it is April and the temperature has climbed to 40°F/5°C in Minnesota than our pasty, white legs sprouting out of a pair of shorts. Our lower appendages turned ghostly pale during the preceding six months and now they’re on full display. But we don’t care. It’s above freezing and we’re Minnesotan.

As soon as it hits 50 or 60F (10 or 15C), it’s time to start eating lunch outside. There’s a nice plaza a block away from my office that gets toasty sunshine on clear days. It’s very refreshing to get outside for a little while, especially when you don’t have to spend ten minutes bundling up to do it.


Whose mood isn’t brightened by the first daffodils to show their yellow sunniness, or the gentle fragrance from a lilac bush wafting in the breeze? Lilacs. Look at that snow. Can you believe it will be six months until we smell their sweet scent again?


If you’re a baseball fan like I am, spring means the start of the regular season. This past year that was particularly meaningful as the Minnesota Twins inaugurated their new outdoor park, Target Field. It true that some of the first games were rather chilly, but it was so fantastic to be outside watching a game with 40,000 of my closest friends. And we know that in just a few months we’ll be sweltering in the dog days of summer.


We will finish our little mood-jogger this evening with beer. You figured I’d get around to something beer related, right? Perhaps my personal favorite sign of spring is when the Bell’s Oberon Ale is released. Even its sunny label says good times are ahead, and while we’re at it, let’s fire up the grill. Oberon pairs very nicely with a delicious, juicy steak and grilled veggies.

Ah, spring.


April 1, 2010

Lilacs in the house

May 19, 2010


I was about five or six in my earliest memory of lilacs. We still lived on Main Street across from the library and had some large lilac bushes in the back yard along the alley. My mom cut some sprigs and brought them inside. The instant the stems hit the water in the vase, a multitude of tiny white mites abandoned blossom like it was the Titanic and scattered out across the brown kitchen table like dandruff on a black turtleneck.

Of course there are many things that I love the smell of, but here in Minneapolis, lilacs are exactly in bloom at the moment and I have one right outside my front window that makes my home smell heavenly.

I think you???d be hard pressed to find someone who found the scent of a lilac to be offensive???a natural lilac, the plant. I completely agree that soaps and lotions?? go overboard on the amount of fragrance. The smell of a plant in the wild is rarely too much. The delicate rose. The mild-mannered carnation. The industrial marigold. My love for the scent of a marigold also goes back to childhood. The house that we moved to after Main Street had a planter in front of the porch, and each summer I got to tend my marigolds, grown from seed. Pleasant memory.

So in my current place, this lilac grows in the corner between my front window and the steps up to my neighbor???s unit. Now that I???ve finally taken the winter-insulating plastic off my windows, I can once again invite in the smell of the outside world; it took about forty-five minutes for the glorious scent of lilac to permeate my entire residence. I am lucky.

This year in particular I have been infatuated with my lilac. Just Saturday, I sat outside reading for three hours in large part because the lilac smelled so good. The other large part was that it was the first day in two weeks to reach into the 70s and forsake 50 and rainy. Plus, this spring (unlike last year) has been wet enough so that all plants are happy. I???ve cut the grass twice already.

I must enjoy this opportunity that Mother Nature has given me while it lasts. I snipped a sprig to have on my desk to inspire me while I was writing. I held my breath as I immersed the end of the stem in the vase. I???m happy to report that the only mass exodus was of divine lilac scent to my nose.