It's spring, and a young woman's fancy turns to thoughts of soccer.
Yup, spring soccer (non-competitive, neither of the girls has gone to the competitive leagues) has started, and Older Daughter is back on the fake turf.
Yes, fake turf. For some reason, one of the parks in my town put in a field with fake turf, and that's the spring soccer field. I'm not fond of it, I have to admit: it smells funny (especially when it's wet), and on really sunny days, the field gets so hot that the kids can't take a knee when someone gets hurt, because it burns their knees (they hunker instead). (I've heard the refs complaining about their feet getting too hot during the games, too.) Nevertheless, it's good to be watching her play again, especially since after this year, she'll be too old for this group.
The spring league is particularly interesting because, being small and non-competitive, they play co-ed teams. This year, Rick's calling our defense The Wall of Women; all three of the main defenders (including Older Daughter and a girl who was on her fall team) are girls. And they play a physical game. Given the age range, it shouldn't be surprising that the defense is girls who have had their growth spurts (the fastest offensive players are often the girls who have not); the tallest girls are generally much taller than the boys. So Saturdays are busy again, except on those days (like tomorrow) when we're playing at 8:00 (have to be on the field by 7:30 am), which means that by the time we're done, most normal people are just finishing their Saturday morning coffee.
Spring is showing up in other places, too. It poured off and on all week, and snow levels dropped to about 3,000 feet; yesterday on Palomar Mountain, it was about 27 degrees. And this morning, when I didn't go to the pool to swim, it was 47 degrees. Now it's 63. (Don't worry, I got my exercise in by taking Tilly for the long walk she missed during the rain.) Where'd the sun go? But the mix of sun, then rain, then sun is certainly making the flowers happy.
Matilija poppies. Or, as they're known around here, Fried Egg Flowers.
Sage (my favorite; Tilly always smells so good when we can get her out to the hills to run).
The climbing roses smell wonderful, too. And the orange blossoms are out, which means that the entire neighborhood is filled with their scent; I love driving around with my windows open this time of year.
It's sweet pea season, too. Sweet peas are among my very favorite flowers, and I wait eagerly every year for their brief season, so I can buy bunches and bunches at the farmer's market. This particular bunch matches my finished Damson.
I don't know if I mentioned that this week I had to cancel my field methods class. The reason? A volcano was erupting in Iceland.* Talk about something I never thought I'd have to write in an email to students, but our Bengali speaker was stuck overseas, and couldn't get home to class. And since I don't speak Bengali, it's not like I was able to stand in. But it definitely clinched in my mind the idea that had been brewing there that she needs to end up with this shawl; this semester just wouldn't have been the same without her.
*I have, as you might expect, heard many an excuse for missing class. An Icelandic volcano is certainly one of the better ones. But the best to my mind is still the time that one of my students, a very sincere young man who was a quiet and excellent student, came up to me to tell me that he might not be in my next class because his sow was due to throw her litter, and if she started that night, he probably wouldn't be free to come to campus. I gave it to him. It just appealed to everything in my nature: first, no pregnant female of any species should be stuck going through labor without her support person available to her, and second, if he was making it up, he got full points for creativity. A year later, he took my gender and language class, and cemented his place in my heart during a discussion of the social construction of expectations of potentially attractive mates when he said that he had rather different expectations than the ones his classmates were coming up with: he was looking for a woman who wouldn't mind if he came in from the fields with lanolin on his hands, and who'd be willing to get on in there and lend a hand during lambing season. Man, do I miss that student.