Planting Spring Bulbs in December

On December 26, to be exact, the temperature here in Chicago reached a high of 55 degrees!  It felt more like March when the snow melts (Hopefully!), the days get longer (Thank God!), and heavy parkas make way for lighter jackets.


My spring bulbs arrived late.  My fault: I ordered them from Holland and ordered them long after I should have.  I prayed that they’d arrive before the ground froze.  No such luck.  They made it here when I couldn’t move a handful of dirt, even when I gave the flower bed a good kick.  (I had a sore toe for 24 hours.)

So, I was stuck with a box of bulbs that cost me $42.  What to do?  I emailed the company and asked what the heck had taken so long and how I should proceed.  Planting them outside was not happening.  The return email detailed instructions for planting the bulbs in pots and putting the pots in a cool, dry place.  In early spring, when the freeze had broken, I was to plant the bulbs in the ground.

I bought potting soil, labeled each pot, and stuck the bulbs as deep as the bottom of the pots would allow.  Some of the “bulbs” were the size of peas; I didn’t count on them surviving the winter in the basement.  Besides, it was warmer there than in the rest of the house.  I said a little prayer to Mother Nature and hoped for the best.

The very next day (as I said, December 26), temperatures rose, the sun shone, the snow melted, the ground unfroze.

“Get out there and plant,” my friend urged.

“I just potted them.”

“Well, dig them up.”

It was late afternoon.  I had maybe 90 minutes before sunset.  I thought of all kinds of excuses why I should leave the bulbs in the pots: my back hurt, I’d ruin my manicure, all the gardening tools had been put away . . .  Besides, how would I find those pea-sized bulbs?

In the end, I grabbed a trowel from the garage, some newspaper to kneel on and then began the process of sifting through the potting soil to rescue all the bulbs.  I failed.  Those tiny bulbs got lost in the shuffle.  And short of running all the soil through some kind of strainer, I gave up and headed outside with the bulbs I could find.


Alas, by that time, I had no idea which bulbs were which—their size, their color, not even what kind.  Frustrated, I dug a bunch of holes and threw bulbs in willy nilly.  I may well end up with tall flowers in front of small, clashing colors and flowers that look awful next to one another.

I guess I’ll just have to wait until spring to find out.





Election and Baseball Fatigue

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.


Think next week’s election.  And for us diehard Chicago Cubs’ fans, think the World Series.

Now, I’ve tried my best to stay away from politics, to ignore sites like the New York Times, Politico, and Alternet.  I watch anything but the news. (Well, at least I try.)  I love HGTV and turn to it as often as I can.  But let’s face it: the formulas for shows like “The Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Flip or Flop” get too predictable, even for an addict like me.

I’ve ordered a few books from Amazon, signed up and paid my money to Rosetta Stone.  (I’ve been studying Spanish for the past six years and figured a different approach would help polish my skills and, more importantly, take my mind off of the “discovery” of new Hillary emails, Trump’s incompetence, and the Cubs’ poor performance in the World Series.)  Nothing has worked.

I wake up in the middle of the night, and my busy mind froths with fears of the election or the Cubs’ failure to get to a game seven.  I sit up in bed, rip off my CPAP mask, try to meditate and, when none of that helps me get back to sleep, I reach for the half of Clonazepan I have sitting at the ready on the table next to my bed.  I just renewed that RX and worry that I’ll “eat” up all the medication before a week from Tuesday.

In anticipation of students’ stress next Tuesday on election day, my yoga center is offering both a morning and early evening class to help us survive.  I’m considering taking both classes.   But I’m not counting on the down dogs or chants of “om” to do a damn thing.

Now I know I’m in good company, with millions of people just like me who have had it with this year’s circus of a presidential election.  This will be my eleventh election since turning twenty-one.  (Okay, you math wizards.  So now you know that I’m a senior who has seen more than my share of election shams, topped off by the “election” of George W. Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (By the by, Al Gore never claimed the system was “rigged.”  He accepted the results and moved on. I wish we could expect the same democratic grace from Mr. Trump if he loses.)

If only all television, radio and print were hacked, creating a total news blackout.  Hey, if the Russians can hack the DNC’s emails, why can’t they go the extra mile and give us all a break.  And while they’re at it, maybe they can “fix” the last two games of the World Series and have the Cleveland Indians fold.


From My Closet to the Goddess Kali With A Book About Brothers & Sisters In There Somewhere

I wake up every morning, shower and dress.  Well, begin to dress.  But when it comes to the day’s choice of a t-shirt, blouse or sweater, I often find myself rummaging through my closet, foolishly hoping that an item of clothing that wasn’t there yesterday, the day before, or the day before that will miraculously have found its way to a hanger.

Of course, nothing new turns up.  Dispirited, I’m forced to recognize that I’m faced with the same old choices.

I find it curious that, while I know the outcome, I continue to hope for some kind of clothing miracle.  Maybe it’s my lame attempt at changing the course of events in my life and/or in the life of many others.

That may be a stretch.  But at this time of year, there is a robust list of upcoming events, personal habits and relationships that I’d like to either change or reverse.



  • To drop my addiction to politics during this Presidential season.  (When will it end?)  Like all addicts, I do everything in my power to avoid the culprits:  TV news (if you can call it that), newspaper, mostly online, radio shows like National Public Radio, progressive stations, even MSBC.  No matter how hard I try to kick the habit, I need my daily fix.  Monday and Tuesday of this week were exceptions: “The Voice” came back on the air after its summer hiatus, and I was giddy with the distraction.  I didn’t cheat once.  But then there’s the first debate a few days from now.  As much as I know it will send me up the wall, I must watch, even though I know I may have to resort to a couple of shots of tequila.


  • To stop the steady march toward the dark days, freezing temperatures, and snow of winter.  (If we weren’t spending a chunk of time in Mexico, I’d have already slipped into the beginnings of depression.)  As it is, I watch the sun drop a few minutes earlier each day and, as a midwesterner, know what’s coming.  (No wonder I want to move to warmer, sunnier climes.)




  • To reconnect with my estranged brother who lives in France.  We haven’t spoken in six years and counting.  (I’ll be detailing the split in a personal essay coming soon to a magazine or blog near you.)  In the meantime—particularly as the author of The Sibling Connection—I sometimes feel like a fraud and a failure who had no business writing a book about brothers and sisterThe Sibling Connection
  • To find the transformative power of the goddesses within me and women around the world.  I know . . . It all sounds rather 1960s, doesn’t it?  And maybe it is.  But I’m going to give it a shot.  Maybe I can resolve the push and pull between the mother figure and the fearsome warrior and accept both as normal, highly regarded parts of the goddess Kali and me.
  • indian-goddess-kali-artk51








Ah, the ways of the subconscious.  From non existent clothes in my closet to the goddess Kali.  The mind works in wondrous ways.