Archives for posts with tag: Hope

The first phase of spring arrived in Minneapolis last week. Not the kind of spring most of the country would recognize. We won’t see tulips and patio beers and open window Saturdays for months. This part of spring is kind of gross.

Our layers of snow and ice have begun to melt. Lakes of brown slush form at each intersection and in potholes big enough to separate a tire from your car. Mountains of snow relinquish the odd objects they’ve swallowed throughout the winter: hubcaps, bits of trash, tree branches, a single shoe.

With this melt, our sweet poodle could finally get a long overdue haircut. The first in three months. We waited so long (too long) because we couldn’t bear to remove those curls. We couldn’t bear to see her tiny body shiver before we’ve walked even halfway around the block. She needed those curls to keep her warm through this hellish winter.

I give you the poodle, before and after:


Our fluffy lion turns into a delicate deer.


Two nights ago, I shoveled the driveway in a hoodie. The dog bounded through the snow like a giddy-Minnesotan-antelope. The wife grilled pork chops. We were full of hope. The combination of our deep snow pack, the warm air, and the poodle’s need for a haircut led to this situation:


Worth it.

This morning, we woke to more than ten inches of fresh snow. Heavy snow. Snow that knocked out power to thousands of Minneapolis homes. Our hearts broke. The weather man’s advice for the coming weeks?

“Abandon all hope.” Seriously, he said that:


I blame this weather, this lack of hope, for my inability to write. The bleakness of each day has sucked away my focus, my ability to string words together. Yes, that’s it. I’ll blame the weather. If you’ve noticed that this blog is suffering, blame the weather.

I do.

Daily Prompt.

We hit twenty degrees by noon today and rejoiced. The poodle even found a stick within the waist high snowpack.


That’s one saving grace of subzero,  Polar Vortex weather; even below freezing weather feels promising. This glimpse of the future, this dose of hopefulness makes a little more winter seem bearable.

Just a little more though. Ok, mother nature?

That little flower on the header of my blog grew into a beast of a potted plant last spring. More leaves and stems than flowers – leaves so dense I wanted to stand on the terracotta pot just to feel how strong they really were.

Don’t worry I didn’t.

I grew flowers and tomatoes and brussel-sprouts and basil and lavender and a failed cauliflower. All on my little deck. This year, if winter ever ends, I’m going to grow more than seems necessary. Eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, spices, squash, snap peas, I don’t know what else, too much but still not enough. In a garden box. A raised bed in the ground.

I’m going to grow enough so I forget winter.

While sitting on my couch recovering from too many box-jumps at Crossfit, I saw my first Vote Yes commercial (on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, that is). A blond woman holding an inexplicably large coffee mug stared at me and warned me that the gays plan to ruin Minnesota. I didn’t think these commercials were real. Who puts hate into the world like that, so publicly? Who announces their own bigotry?

When the anger cloud moved from my field of vision another – and perhaps more sobering and realistic – line of questions emerged:

What would this woman say to me? How would she treat my imaginary future family? I’d like to say she would be awful. I would like to project as much distain as her commercial evoked. Yet, I think she might be ok. Maybe. Maybe if she met us or lived near us she would see we aren’t so bad. We would talk about gardening and the weather and all those things nice Minnesota neighbors talk about. That doesn’t give me comfort. No, that particular thought experiment scares me. Politics – instead of real life – seem to keep this woman and all the vote yes folks from letting their worlds grow.

Shit, that scares me. Yet here I am hopeful, even a little Pollyanna-ish… Maybe I’m still energized by my new job. Maybe I didn’t drink enough water today. Or maybe it is because of the goodness of my dear, sweet home, Iowa:


Pending a background check, I start my new job next month. Benefits. A solid, steady check. It’s not a teaching or writing-related job but, in short, it is stability. Yet, as always, I’m conflicted.

Who will keep this regal poodle company?

Though I’ve been out of the military for almost two years now, this will be my first real big-kid civilian job. What if I don’t know how to be a civilian? My swearing still rivals that of a long-haul truck driver. What if haven’t used this time to write and be a writer to its full potential? What the hell do I wear?! What if I hate it?

Oh, fuck the what ifs.

I need this job and WANT this job in order for my life to move forward. House. Family. Kids. A real goddamn garden. Maybe this book will happen and maybe it won’t. I’m ok either way but I know if let my other life goals wait I will regret it.

That sounds pretty convincing, right?

I stumbled upon this movie today:

It is the movie adaptation of British Chef Nigel Slater’s memoir about learning to cook and the authoritarianism of parents. Strictly viewed by plot, the movie is depressing as shit. Dying parents, oppressive near-homophobic small town life, etc. That said, it’s incredibly sweet film. I’m a sucker for sweet and hopeful (and Helena Bonham Carter).

How do these beautiful little movies get lost in the shuffle? Solid acting. Lovely cinematography. The film must have been beautiful on the big screen. I’d rather watch this than half the overproduced shit in theaters this summer.

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