Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Travel Break: Gloomy, White and Cold!

It has been snowing here. Deep snow. (Well, OK, not THAT deep!) Finally. I say "finally" and it sounds like "oh, boy! It's finally snowing!" But what I mean is that by late January and our total number of snow inches since November was about five or six (if that) and in only two real snowfalls. Don't tell me there is no climate change. We live in Michigan. (OK, it wasn't FEET of snow, but more snow than we'd had!)


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. If you don't like it, move somewhere else. Well, as Gilda said, "It's always something." Hurricanes, tornado belt, flood plain, earthquake zone, wildfire dangers. Trust me, I don't mind winter kicking in till late January.

However, when it kicked in it was more like a severe beating. Like many of you in the north and northeast, the Polar Vortex (we added an adjective I won't put here before Polar) knocked us flat. When temps don't get above zero F and the wind chills are in the -30 and lower zone, you know it's cold. When Rick left here bundled up for a two-block walk home, he looked like Ralphie's little brother in "A Christmas Story," or at least his face did, bundled in a scarf wrapped more times than I thought it could wrap. Wish I'd taken a photo!

Everything closed -- even the U and the post office! A few days later, it warmed up, a 50 degree or more-degree change, practically overnight. Then a melt (all gone!), gloom, rain and now ice. I'm getting ready for basement water.

The wretched weather gives me a good excuse to kick back and be mellow and time to bake, paint, read, get crafty and take some classes -- so lots to write about before we pack up for more of England. It was the two-month sinus infection that doesn't end, a crown badly placed that seems to not settle quite right (ah, why couldn't they just put it on my head instead of in it?) and who knows what. It finally flattened me with high fever and that's when you know you just have to stop. Fortunately, it was Rick and Lizzie to the rescue. Rick with a drugstore run and soup. Lizzie with a big mellow purr. (Of course, she always has an agenda, but that's OK. I'll take it.)


Before the sinus head kicked in full force (and since) I've been reading. I'd highly recommend Tara Westover's "Educated" and found "C'est la vie" by the late "Born to Shop" author Suzy Gershmann delightful as she wrote about her first year as a grieving widow and moving to Paris. (Light, but fun; but don't get any ideas based on the prices -- the book was written in 2000!). I just finished Bob Woodward's "Fear" which is a fast read if you watch a lot of news, which I do, and a couple of light mysteries. Now I'm into Tina Brown's "Vanity Fair Diaries."

A little bit of Valentining in the house. I bought these pompom balls for about 40 cents each when marked down 80 percent at Pier One in January. I sure do love that Valentine's Day and Christmas use similar color schemes! There are little lights in the vase for night time. (More Valentine decor to share soon!)


And I've been painting England. Trying to put some of our travel memories into watercolor. Easier said than done!


The paintings above is from the Cotswolds -- I'll be writing more about those after our travel break. The one below is from our visit to Kenwood, which I wrote about HERE.


And a lovely tea. Tea. What's not to love?


And a good start on the cottage where we stayed in Bath. I can already see the perspective's a bit helter skelter in this one. To be honest, I look at all of these except maybe the tea one and realize I'm going to have to do them over.


As I've been painting and going through photos to paint, I've been thinking about my friend Steve, below and on the right. Steve was my boss at WKAR for a number of years and we were part of a happy band of travelers who went to various PBS and industry meetings. Those were wonderful times with loads of laughs. Steve had a membership to the NorthWest perks club and the rest of us always tried to book the same flight so we could join him while waiting for connections! He was my favorite partner during pledge breaks because I knew we'd talk wine and have fun.


Steve was a good leader for our station in those times but in later years, after his retirement, he became a non-work friend as well, and in recent years several of us who have retired periodically meet for dinner. That's when I learned that Steve read Marmelade Gypsy. That surprised me. It didn't exactly seem up his alley, yet when I think of Steve, I think of someone who loved to travel, garden, savor wine and had loads of interests. He and his wife Susan were a perfect pair.

A lot of my colleagues who worked with Steve never realized how funny he was. You don't always know how funny your big boss is. Humor can be tricky when it's wry. And if you are a little more retiring than others, you don't always get to know that. I'm glad I did.

I look at these photos and I realize that now two of are happy band, Steve, who passed away unexpectedly in January, and Mary Jane (second from left, below, who passed about nine years ago) are gone. They aren't the only ones in my overall orbit. But they were two who mattered to me. And I realize that the check out line is only beginning.


I'll still be gathering with my work pals for dinner, but we'll be missing a major cog in the wheel. And one thing I will miss greatly are the times when we're talking about something and Steve would look at me and say, about something he had seen here the blog, "Damn, woman, you're good! Where did you get that photo?!" or "I lurk. But I always read your blog."

We never know who's reading, do we? But I'm glad Steve read mine.

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46 comments:

Valerie-Jael said...

Yes, the climate has changed and the global climatic extremes and crazy swings are just the beginning. Love the watercolour paintings. Look after yourself, hugs, Valerie

David Gascoigne said...

It is a sad (?) fact, Jeanie, but a fact nevertheless, that we have reached the age where those around us start to die. And we expect it. Each time sickness strikes someone close we wonder if it is the last time. My time is surely not too far away any more, but I sure intend to have a helluva time as long as I can. I don't know whether it is unusual or not, but I rarely dwell on the past, and I even less seldom look at old pictures. People live. People die. That's about all there is to it.

William Kendall said...

Lovely work on the paintings.

Lizzie is a good nurse.

One of the bloggers I follow posted a final post earlier today- her husband passed away several days ago. It wasn't unexpected, but still a shock.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Oh, your paintings! You've done a nice job trying to capture the breathtaking beauty of cottages and rambling roses. The polar vortex was a joy, we are now experiencing some lovely freezing rain. I wonder what's next? I TOTALLY know what you are talking about when you refer to A Christmas Story and Ralphie's scarf. I also laugh at Randy in his one piece snow suit and not being able to put his arms down. I'm sorry you've lost some close friends. It's nice when the people you work with are also considered your friends. -Jenn

Gina said...

Jeanie, I'm sorry for your loss. How wonderful that you have treasured photos of everyone together.

Your paintings are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing them with us!

Pom Pom said...

I love your paintings. I'm sorry you've been so cold.

Marilyn Miller said...

It does surprise me when someone tells me they read my blog. Sad you lost another dear friend. Yes, this will happen more and more.
Global warming they say, why yes it is! The strange weather patterns the past few years tells us so. Can't quite understand why some just don't get it. Love seeing your paintings, can't wait to hear about the Cotswolds, and love seeing dear Lizzie.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Your water colors are lovely!

This winter has been a bear. Yes, the climate is changing; anyone who doubts it aren't paying attention. We had an ice storm today with another one expected over night. I think the Lansing area got it too. Portland had a lot of flooding in the stores along main where they said it hasn't happened only once in the past forty years.

bobbie said...

I hope you feel better soon ~ sending thoughts for gentle healing...

Your watercolors are GORGEOUS!!

Sandra Cox said...

Great job on the paintings.
Sorry you've been feeling puny:(
Fun shot of Lizzie.

My name is Erika. said...

This has been a very strange winter for weather. Every where. We actually don't have a whole lot of snow after a couple of gorgeous days and I wouldn't mind if it stayed like that. But it is only February.Sounds like you've done a lot of good reading, which is great to do in this season. And loving the paintings. You are really catching the feel of your trip. Plus I am sorry to hear about your friend. Stay warm and dry! Hugs-Erika

Red Rose Alley said...

Ralphie's little brother in 'A Christmas Story' haha. I can just see Rick all bundled up. Well, I love seeing snow pictures, Jeanie, as I have to travel about an hour up in the mountains to see it. But it sure sounds cold where you are. Your paintings are nice, and I really like the breakfast with the red tea cup. Oh, those pom poms are delightful. I haven't seen those at Pier 1. That's my favorite store. Lizzie is such a pretty one.

Stay warm and bundle up, Jeanie. It does look beautiful around your neck of the woods.

~Sheri

Lynne said...

A dear friend of mine and I, visited just the other day about
our “changing climate,” goodbyes, death, dying, friendship.
There are friends, and I am so thankful for them.
And once in awhile . . . a soul friend comes along.
I think you know the kind, one that seems to be right inside your soul, visa versa.

Loved your post . . .

I think your water color pieces are wonderful . . .
Sometimes we are tough critics on our own work.
I love your style, touches, all . . .
Funny how the mood hits and out come the paints.
I did that last night.

I think the weather has played a role in my indoor activity, including eating too much.
One minute we are in a DEEP freeze with 36 plus inches of snow,
then a melt, now ice all over, poor Portland area with the ice jams!
Climate changes all over the place!

Rambling . . . I will stop before I ramble on the “State of the Union.”

Mae Travels said...

Maybe there's something charming about not-perfect perspective. I think that unfinished sketch will be very appealing. Your others are definitely appealing -- I like the clarity of the watercolors.

It's very sad to lose a friend: I'm sorry.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Iris Flavia said...

Now you sure made me curious about "the adjective"!
But, oh no for basement water!
Sorry about the crown, give it on my head, should be legal as my name translated is Emperor.OK, not funny but true).
Awww, cute pic of worried Lizzie.
Great paintings.
Bitter-sweet looking at pics where people are missing in real life...

Joanne Huffman said...

I’m very happy to have missed the polar vortex. Hope you’re feeling better.

Mary K.- The Boondocks Blog said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It is always hard to accept something like that. You seem to have gotten a ton of snow Jeanie, we got a pittance although we were threatened but it didn't come through. Stay warm and continue to paint. I like the one from Kenwood the best!

Linda deV said...

A tender sweet post Jeanie. Thank you for sharing your paintings and your friendships.

Sami said...

Love the watercolours Jeanie. So sorry about your friend that died recently.
The Pompom flowers and Lizzie are very sweet.
The weather has been crazy everywhere! In Queensland in the East coast of Australia it rained during 8 days the same amount it usually rains in 1 whole year! Mass devastation... In the West Coast we have high temperatures and drought.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

So very sorry for your loss. I know what you mean by dry humor. I have it, too. I am NOT fond of American humor, so I can appreciate the dry wit of the Brits. After all, I'm half Brit myself.

It's bitterly cold here right now. I think it's about 10 F., but the "feels like" surface temp is well below zero. It is sleeting and there is a sheet of ice on my back patio. We are not expected to get above freezing before Saturday. Too cold for this human and cats, but not too cold for school to shut down or the mail to stop.

Sorry I'm so late visiting. Seems to be the story of my life lately. I am still reading January posts on your blog, but may give up on leaving comments. I am simply overwhelmed and can't catch my breath. I hope by now you are feeling better and your illness is just a dull memory. Take care, dear Jeanie, and feel better soon. BTW, I actually LOVE all your watercolors. You are too hard on yourself.

DUTA said...

Your paintings are beautiful! You've got great talent, no doubt about that.
We live in an era of climate anomality, of freezing and melting, flooding and fires. It doesn't look good. May God help us!

Sad when we lose people who mean something to us, but that's life. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

Regine Karpel said...

Love

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I love your watercolors, they are beautiful. So sorry for the loss of your friend. we had a short break from winter, but it is not over yet. Your Pom-pom flowers are so pretty. Lizzie is a sweetie! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, we will be int the seventies today and have had spring like weather for a few days. A drastic change from the winter weather and freezings temps from a few days ago. That is nothing new for the south. I hope you don't have a major water problem in the basement this year from the melt. I hope you are feeling better now, those sinus infections will put you in the bed. Lizzie looks as if she's confused about what she needs to do for her mommy. Your paintings will be lovely. How wonderful to have the talent to paint some of your favorite places. Sorry about your friend. No matter our age it always seems to be shocking to hear of the loss of someone we know. Take care......

La Table De Nana said...

Loe your artwork! How patient you are..I never give things achance to dry and paint through..Quick Draw McGraw here:(
The tea is charming as well as your homes..etc..
Sorry about your friend..I know how dear they are to you..
July is supposed to be a scorcher here..I must think over some gardens..less water means dying grass and plants.
No chemicals..no watering here.
Stricty enforced.
We've neen freezing too..and I have snowbanks galore..
I just read I Found You and started The Tird Wife..I am painting more than reading;)
Have a good weekend!

La Table De Nana said...

That would be the THIRD wife:):):)

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Love your charming paintings. I remember growing up in Michigan and it seemed snow was always on the ground from Nov through March.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I am sorry you have been so sick and your miserable weather to go along isn’t any fun. Losing a friend is always so hard. Steve will be missed by many, I am sure! I always enjoy sitting down with you with my coffee in hand! Happy Thursday!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'm sorry to hear that you lost another friend - and unexpectedly is especially hard. :( Phil just found out that a high school friend has stage 4 breast cancer and it's in her bones, too. She has 2 young kids. So he's been feeling very glum this week.

Sad news plus not feeling well plus crappy weather is just a bad combo. It's been a bad weather week for us as well. It was -50 last week with the windchill, warmed up this weekend, we got ice and now we are getting our 2nd snow fall. I'm over it! This is the time of year when I ask myself why we live here!! But we do love Minneapolis - just not in January and February!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, so sorry about your friend Steve (also, Mary Jane). It's a brutal winter this year. Snuggle up with Lizzie, and drink lots of tea!

shoreacres said...

Your comment about Rick looking like Ralphie's little brother cracked me up. A friend who never has experienced real cold was in the upper midwest when good ol' PV showed up, and she said, "You know, I never understood the reason for those scarves. But if you breath sub-zero air, it HURTS!" No kidding, said me. I'm glad it moved on, and whatever your next weeks' weather, just remember: spring is coming!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your art is lovely - I hope you share more in the future. I'm sending you sunny thoughts and a hope for better weather.

Karen Ann said...

These are lovely! You are very talented! Watercolor is not an easy medium

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, you are too critical of your art. I wish I could do 1/10 of what you do. In my head, I can see it all, but that doesn't even translate to my hands at all! I love it all especially the little cottages. They are so quaint and charming and you have captured them perfectly in my estimation. We have a hot line to our high school graduating class and are seeing more people ill and dying. Where did all that time go? When those thoughts never entered our minds? I cannot fathom why anyone does not accept global warming!. It just makes me so mad because it is so in our faces! Of course, I don't agree with most of what "they" say!..Supposed to have snow again by Saturday. Colder than I can remember other winters here..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

Rita C at Panoply said...

A sweet tribute to your friend, Jeanie. I'm sorry for your loss. It's sad to start seeing our friends (contemporaries) leave us.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful art and beautiful friendships.....
all to be treasured. Thank you for sharing.
Phyllis

Karen said...

Oh Jeanie, I'm so sorry for your loss. It seems once a person turns that corner at 50, the connections start disappearing. I lost a cousin in January. We used to laugh at the parents obsessively turning to the obituary page when the newspaper came each afternoon. Now we do it.
Your water colors are very sunny. I wish I was brave enough to photograph mine. I can't seem to get the light right and the colors look muddy in the photos.
Rick is a brave man to be walking in that mess. (I'm on the hunt for a balaclava!) A 50 degree temperature spread is shocking!!

Louca por porcelana said...

Love your beautiful paintings!Hugs!

Mary Rose's said...

What a beautiful remembrance of Steve and MaryJane too!

Well said, Jeanie.

Ricki Treleaven said...

The climate is always changing. My grandmother was telling me that in the fifties, scientists were far more worried about global cooling, and sure enough, I googled it and read some of the LIFE magazine articles concerning the impending freeze. Personally, I'm for warming over freezing....There was a mini ice age during the Victorian era....can you imagine the Thames freezing solid?

The polar vortex was interesting to read about. I'm happy it's over for my northern friends! Hopefully, the rest of your winter will be mild.

xo,
RJ

Rowan Tree Cottage said...

The Cotswold doorway painting is beautiful. As someone from the Cotswolds I’m not at all biased. Lol Yes the weather has been getting crazier in the UK too. We had a hot dry summer which withered crops. I don’t know if it is improved reporting or the rose tinted spectacles of childhood but I don’t remember so many flood warnings or storms. Reading about the snow in the States is like the blurb in The Day Before Tomorrow!

Yes it is so sad when those we know are leaving us. All we can do is celebrate their memory with those around us. My children are always being told about my Nana. It’s the best way to continue the love.

Nikki-ann said...

Your watercolour paintings are wonderful. They make me want to get out my watercolours and actually use them!

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. x

BeachGypsy said...

So so sad------sorry for the loss of your good and treasured friend--may the fun memories bring you comfort.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, your watercolors are beautiful. So sorry for the loss of your friend.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Your paintings are very sweet. You had a fulfilling career life and now a fulfilling retirement. Some changes in life are sad as wel get older...
I am amazed at how cold it got in the midwest. And then the extreme change. It is distrubing. Here in Maine the weather/climate is changing too, but maybe not as drastically. We just had an old fashioned snow, previously snow was turning to rain and then freezing...

Victoria Zigler said...

Sorry you were sick. Hope you've long since recovered by the time you're reading this.

I'm sorry about Steve too.

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