Friday, January 12, 2018

Just a Typical Michigan Winter

There was snow covering the ground in a thick, white blanket earlier this week but the streets were sloppy and the snow banks were gray. Then, after two weeks of temperatures that were in negative numbers (sometimes not including wind chill), we experienced the January thaw.

I wouldn't have believed that this would take us down to grass and pavement, but upon rising Wednesday morning I saw a back yard of wet, greenish grass. I'm sure the fraternity boys at the university were in their shorts, sitting on the roof of their house drinking beer and no doubt will be at the health center getting antibiotics next week. (And then last night the temperature dropped, the rain came and turned into pretty, clean, white snow -- which is came down fairly heavily as I typed! Today it took me an hour to go what normally takes 20 minutes and there were sirens and blinky lights everywhere. Michigan Winter.)

During the now-ended thaw. It is at times like this I wish I'd put the pumpkins farther back into the brush. When I "hid" them at the end of the season for the critters, they were behind the hostas. Looks sad, doesn't it!
In a typical Michigan winter, after the holidays, I de-decorate. The trees are down, apart from the winter trees which stay up a bit and all the Santas are stored away.

New winter decorations are coming out, including the felt skiers that are currently residing on the mantle.

To be honest, it doesn't look much like a snow bank. But I like them and I'm not sure where else to put them. So there!

The birds (and Bushy the Squirrel) are socking down feeder food like bonus night at the Golden Corral. Lizzie, of course, is amused. Only her own dinner and her frequent naps top birds in the list of "favorite things to do."

January is Get Organized Month. So, I looked at my junk drawer.

I might look at it again. Or maybe not.

I did, finally, finish Rick's scarf. Knitting doesn't come as easily as it used to -- sore fingers! I'm waiting for the tumeric that my cousin swears by to kick in and ease the aching joints. This scarf is long overdue, his other having taken the scenic route to Detroit on a sloppy, icy day three years ago, dragging outside the driver's door. He'll be careful with this one!

I took a page from Barbara Windle's beautiful blog and made a scarf wreath out of a foam wreath form and a Dollar Tree scarf, capped off with a cute pin at the knot.

Barbara's weath is somewhat different (and more lovely). I wanted something sort of rustic to fit my cottage feel and the checked pattern worked well. I wasn't sure about the knot and when I remembered the pin my friend Jane gave me, I pulled it off a sweater and added it to the wreath (and now I see it even more!) It reminds me of Gypsy and his mentor, Stimpy, the pre-Lizzie residents. And it brings a little bling to the wreath, which I liked.

Barbara's instructions and wreath are wonderful (and much more elegant) and I hope you will check it out right HERE and maybe even try one of your own.

And then there is the part of me that is heartsick. My favorite, neighborhood book store is closing. It's not that business was bad. It was just that the landlord wanted them to subdivide their store, losing the popular cafe, coupled with taxes four times more than their mall or Grand Rapids location. I went today for the first of their markdowns and it felt like being at a wake. We hugged our favorite staff (that's Dewey, below) and told them we were worried about their jobs. Strangers were coomiserating with other strangers. We are heartbroken.

And yes, I bought books. On sale. But I felt guilty about it.

Meanwhile, I head to physical therapy for that pesky arthritic knee several days a week and eagerly anticipate a trip to London, Ontario, to see our friends Suzanne and Jim and enjoy Stephen Sondheim's "Follies" as performed by England's National Theatre, live on the big screen.

I say "it's winter! (At least in this part of the world!) Go out and treat yourself. Oh, go treat yourself, no matter what time of year it is!"

How's your January faring?

Sharing this week with:  Let's Keep in Touch   / Share Your Cup 


  1. Hi Jeanie.

    Another bookstore closing.....sigh, but you got a good haul. Do you ever do reviews?

    Our January is starting with a lot of hope. Hope that 2018 has a little more to rejoice about than the previous. The fires at the end of 2017 sort of took the wind from my sails. Now muds slides are wreaking havoc. My job is to find joy in the little things and I'll keep on trying. The weather is lovely and the family is healthy and business to good. I remain grateful.

  2. Everything looks so great, Jeanie. Love all your decorations. I'm totally jealous of that tidy junk drawer. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. We seem to be experiencing extreme weather world wide, I am just concentrating on thoughts of spring. Love your winter decorations. Sorry about the book stores, that's sad. Enjoy your books. Hugs, Valerie

  4. Your new book selection has a lot to offer -- a couple of those are on my list. January is definitely a month when reading is often the only sane choice. I hope you'll blog some of them.

    best... mae

  5. Hello, it is sad your bookstore is closing. I see you got some familiar Authors and books. Your winter decorations are pretty and I love the wreaths and flowers. Cute capture of your chickadee. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  6. Oh, I love those little felt skiers all piling up on your mantel, Jeanie. They look so cute there. What a fantastic picture of the bird. He looks somewhat like our blue jay. You did a great job on Rick's scarf, and such pretty colors. Those jeweled pins go nicely on the red plaid wreath you made. Yes, January is clearing out and organizing month. It's really cooooold here too, but not as cold as Michigan. Bundle up and stay warm, Jeanie. : )


  7. It's been brutal here, but my Christmas decorations have been put away since the day after Christmas. I was ready to let them go.

    I love your little skiers. They are truly adorable. And that scarf wreath is a real winner. I love the cat.

    So sad about the bookstore, but the landlord will have his way. I bet in the long run, he will be sorry he allowed that money maker and traffic maker to leave.

    I hope you are warm and safe. It is very, very, very cold here and we haven't seen temps above freezing for days.

  8. I hate when bookstores close. We had a fun store called Hastings that closed. Last year the only Christian bookstore in town closed. Both stores suffered because people prefer to buy online from Amazon or other online stores.

  9. That scarf!!--what a fun idea! It turned out great. Sad, always sad to see good small bookstores close. Hate to see them go. Will you let me know if Lilac Girls is good? It's on my reading list and has been for quite a while now. It looked good! January brings out the "get organized" urge in me as well. I have dumped out my closet this week and re-did it, putting away clothes I don't wear and also did one of my long overdue and stuffed to the gills dresser drawers, so glad I tackled those chores and got it done! Kitchen "junk" drawer--not tooo bad for now----so leaving it as is, LOL

  10. You have an incredibly tidy junk drawer. It looks like you've got some good reading ahead of you - sorry for the bookstore closing (I've been to the Grand Rapids one and really liked it). January is definitely hunkering down time - and you do it in style.

  11. Jeanie, That felt skier could be ME! We finally got a big snowstorm, and we skied fresh powder this morning. All my Santas are tucked away,too, but I kept the lights and swag on my sled. We'll have 3 of the grandsons with us this weekend. Bob and I will play with Sam in the snow while the older ones ski. You need to take pepper with the tumeric to make it really effective. I buy the capsules from Swansons with pepper already added.

  12. Hi Jeanie! I'm new here and I just loved this post. We have something in common--I'm in Michigan, too! I actually had our long driveway plowed on Tuesday, and then everything melted yesterday! Today is freezing and windy, but no ice fisherman on the lake, so I trust them to know it's not completely frozen.

    I don't have much in the way of decor for winter, but I love your skiers! I have some snowmen here and there, since I haven't done much take-down from Christmas. Maybe I'll keep them out for a while longer.

    I like your choice of books. I keep telling myself to start reading Louise Penny. I'm never going to catch up at this rate. Another series I've followed forever is Sue Grafton's Kinsy Millhone alphabet books. I was devastated when I heard she had passed away recently.

    Book stores closing make me sad. I remember spending a lot of time browsing in them, then having a cup of coffee and a treat after. As of now, I'm picking up books at Target. I have a Nook, but I really am loving 'books' again, and then sharing them with friends and family.

    Stay warm! We are supposed to go sledding tomorrow, but at 18 degrees I'm not sure!


  13. The decorative sun in your first picture is beautiful - I would like to have something like that in my garden.
    I'm so sorry about the closing of your neighborhood book store. I'm sad whenever a book store closes that does not belong to a big chain. They have so much more charm and character than a Barnes & Noble. At least you got a ton of books for a discounted price, but still... how sad.

  14. Like you, we've had a January thaw the last couple of days and lost a lot of snow. But they say we could get more tomorrow when it cools down and if not, next week. And I was hoping this would last. :) That is so sad about your local bookstore. I have seen (as have most of us) too many small independent stores go out (not just books) and if it's one you love, you really end up missing them. But looks like you have some good reads and memories. Too bad they can't find another spot to go into. But your skiers are very cute. I have never seen any of those before. Stay warm and dry. Happy weekend. Hugs-erika

  15. Always sad when a bookstore closes. It happens way too often. Love the wreath, so cute! We are having rain and some cold weather this weekend. I'm staying in and staying well so I can have my surgery. I loved all your Eiffel Tower ornaments and saw some that I have also! I like the skiers on the mantel, very cute! Happy Weekend!

  16. Hello, Jeanie! So far, so good on my end over here! But, I do worry about a few things, such as the horrible mudslide in California and the lives lost. I realize that just because the calendar says it's a "new year" doesn't mean that magically, things on the exterior of my world will suddenly change. But I do have hope, because I realize that I can always change MYSELF, and I'm on that mission. So far, so good.

  17. Hi Jeanie, I love the felt skiers on the mantle. I leave out winter decorations and usuallly add to them when I hit the after
    Christmas sales. Although I love to get the decorations put away and the house clean I feel like leaving out a few wintery things to ease the withdrawal of the holidays. I slowly put winter things away as our weather warms up leading into spring. Love your scarf wreath, II have to remember this for next year. And, the scarf you are knitting. We had another cold front come thought leaveing us at 15 this morning and only warming into the 30's. A week of that :( Dark and dreary, a good day for a book and blanket and my favorite chair. Hope you enjoy the weekend.........

  18. So many stores closing:(
    Too bad..I know what a bibliophile you are:(
    Well we had heavy fog and rain all day yesterday and today a winter warning blizzrd visibility is nil..I would think on the highway..lots fell overnight.I am just going to sit and paint and stitch:)
    Love the skiers..and geesh I wish I had picked up a few Cape Christmas MV and one SB:) LOL.Bon weekend!Bon séjour..

  19. I just ,love your felt skiers - did you create them? I had to smile when I saw your collection of Eiffel Towers; I also have a collection of them, and I see we have a couple of the same ones! And the piece which you have two (the silver glitter with the red hanging ribbon) is the piece that I have two of as well! LOL
    Great minds and all that!

  20. You tolerate a brutal winter very well, Jeanie. We had 70° on Thursday, and now snow, ice and frigid temps again. Your skiers are fantastic little pick-me-ups for your mantel. While your book store is struggling, it is sadly the state of much of the country. Our capital city's major retail shopping mall just went into receivership yesterday, with its management company in bankruptcy! The future of retail is at total risk of oblivion.
    Stay warm, cozy and well! Don't you & Rick do like the college kids when the temps rise next time. ;)

  21. First things first. I love your wreath. The buffalo check is a good choice. The pin you added is perfect. As a creative person, you know well that finding inspiration to create is at least part of the process. You did a good job on it. Thank you for the link to my blog.

    It is sad when a bookstore closes. I once had a few independent stores near me, but, they have all gone. I do have Chapters/Indigo nearby and there is always Amazon, but, it is not the same. I feel your pain.

    I also your read your post on genealogy. It is very interesting. I am especially excited to hear about your DNA tests. This is something I want to do too even though I think the result will be fairly predictable. It is the idea that there is something unpredictable hiding in there that I find so intriguing. Can't wait to hear your results.

  22. What a great buy and how wonderful that you were there to support the staff! I would love a bookstore with a cafe in it and can understand how upset you are to lose such a great thing. It's opportunities like this one that makes me do low spend January instead of no spend. I wouldn't want to pass up a chance to get such a good deal on books!

  23. I lived in London, Ontario many years ago. My middle son was born there and he just turned 36! Your skiers and wreath are very unusual! Loving the bling! Sad about your bookshop. Lots of shops are closing down here also. People are doing more and more shopping online it seems and they can’t compete. Sad but true. I hope you enjoy your visit with your friends. Xo

  24. We warmed up for a few days, and I was VERY happy about that, but today we're back to being incredibly cold. It's extremely windy, and lots of folks are having power outages. We're almost halfway through January, though, so that's something at least.

    Your scarf wreath is really nice! I may have to try something like that. I don't ever do any winter decorating. Once the Christmas stuff comes down, there's really nothing until I plant flowers in the spring. A cozy wreath on the door might improve my attitude about the winter. Or at least not make it any worse.

    Please be careful on the slippery roads. I know y'all are much more used to it, and a snow storm doesn't cripple you the way it does us here in the south, but I always worry about people driving in the winter.

    I love your description of Rick's scarf taking the scenic route. The loss of the scarf isn't funny, but that description is.

    Enjoy the weekend, and stay warm. :-)

  25. Jumped over to check out Barbara's wreath and I love it. Yours is so cute also. I love the pin you used on it. Too cute. My Jan. is moving right along, cold keeping me in for now, and a hint of snow....but lots of ice! Take care.

  26. Ricks scarf looks great and I am sure he will love it - keeping the cold out.

    Your wreath turned out great you did a wonderful job.

    So sorry that you have been having crazy weather there. I am sure by now everyone has heard about the terrible storm we had. Nothing like that here in SO CA. I just feel so very sorry for everyone up in the Santa Barbara area. Today we had temps of 85 degrees.
    Felt good to sit in the sun. But tomorrow it's down to 70 - it's crazy.

    Like your little snow people - they are so cute.

    unfortunately almost all of the book stores here have closed. Only Barnes and noble are the only ones left, unless you go through Amazon. I have a Kindle so I get them on line to my Kindle. I love books, but after while the pages bother my sinuses.

    Keep warm, I freeze if it's 60 degrees and look like a snowman LOL.


  27. What a great post! All kinds of fun.
    I want to try one of those wreaths, but I'm missing something on the directions. Is the scarf folded? Or do you just lay the wreath skeleton:) on half of the scarf?
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Jeanie.

  28. We do deserve treat most often. Love the scarf wreath and your ski people. And an adventure planned, how wonderful! It is always sad when a favorite store closes, but especially book stores. Nice scarf for Rick. Yep, enjoy cleaning the drawer, it feels soooooo good. I am going through old papers and folders and with each one I toss I feel lighter.

  29. I think the weather changes have me in shock . . .
    Or it has scrambled my brain and senses somewhat . . .

    Love the scarf story . . . a bit of a giggle . . . I can visualize completely!

    Love the wreath idea . . . I may try it . . .
    I have a pretty red plaid large square scarf that warms me TOO MUCH when I wear it . . .
    I think I might create with it instead!

    The book store closing males me sad . . .
    And yes, the putting people out of work part too . . .
    Interesting purchases you made . . .
    One I see, I would grab up for sure for gift giving . . .

    BTW . . . Broken For You is ready to be sent out in the mail Monday.
    (guess it will be Tuesday..MLK day on Monday.)

  30. So sad to see a local business close. Had to laugh, one of your books was by Louise Penny, I am Penny Louise! Dearest Lynne sent you to my blog. Thanks so much for your kind comment. I love a woman that names the squirrel at the feeder. Is it too late to say Happy New Year? Love, Penny

  31. Great about you finishing up the scarf for Rick, and at least his old one went out in style, even if it's sad about it.

    Shame about the bookstore closing, though good you got some books on sale. Don't feel guilty. They'll be closing either way, but you buying books has probably helped them do so with a little more money in their pockets.

  32. Absolutely love your wreath....I might give it a try but I am so not crafty and mine always turns out looking soooo goofy. Gonna try it anyway.

  33. Wonderful post as always. Too bad about the book store. We are losing ours in Irving too.

  34. Jeanie, it is so sad when a bookstore closes. How's my January faring? It's half gone already! How did that happen?! Have a wonderful time in London Ontario -- love that place (AND Stratford Ontario)!

  35. Jeanie, I love the skiers! I know you are heartbroken over your bookstore closing. My favorite downtown coffee shop closed a couple of years ago and I was very sad, it was my go to place to meet friends! You had a small reprieve from winter only to come back in full force. We are supposed to get a little snow tomorrow!

  36. Totally in love with your felt skiers. So adorable! You should grab another scarf... one in white to use for snow for your skiers :-)
    big hugs,

  37. Our January has been similar - super duper cold, then a thaw, then more cold weather and some snow. We got some nice fluffy snow this weekend which brightened things up. Most of it fell on Sunday and I did not leave the house so did not mind the snow! Plus Phil does all the shoveling so I can enjoy how pretty it is without having to deal with the manual labor of shoveling!

    Those skiers are so cute! Even without a snowbank!

    I hope the turmeric kicks in quickly. Have you tried tart cherry juice? My dad drinks a shot of it every day in his glass of juice and says it helps with his arthritis. It's tough to find in the store sometimes so he orders it from amazon. You definitely need to mix it with something because it is very very thick and super tart. But it's great when mixed in with juice!

    Tomorrow we are getting a warm up and I can't wait. It was 0 this morning and -17 with the windchill when we were waiting for the bus. Buurrrrrrr!

  38. I'm so sad when a bookstore closes. My tree is still up. Just haven't wanted to take it down! Pretty scarf. Love the tartan wreath.

  39. I'm so sorry about your book store. Hopefully they can find other work soon. I love the wreath. The skiers are just too adorable. Thanks for linking to Keep In Touch.

  40. It makes me sad when little stores like that close! We have had no winter to speak of, but finally got snow last night. I have seen more shorts and flip flops in January ever! Hope your physical therapy helps. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  41. Forgot to say how cute your skiers and wreath are!


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