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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