Hail, hail the gang’s all here!


That’s right … the same gang you had at your Thanksgiving Day dinner table yesterday, were standing at the crack of dawn, noses pressed against the store windows, and umbrellas aloft to keep them dry, while waiting for the stores to open.  Some shoppers have camped outside Best Buy since Tuesday morning to take advantage of some of the hot deals on electronics they were offering today.  Their families brought tables and turkey dinners so they did not miss out on the festivities.  I do hope everyone tucked a turkey-and-stuffing sandwich into their purses or pockets to fuel them through this shop-til-you-drop day.

I’ve written in this blog before about my adventures going shopping on Black Friday … that was back when the stores were closed on Turkey Day to permit their employees to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families; then it was a big deal for Radio Shack or the toy stores to open at 7:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving – in fact, it probably wasn’t even called Black Friday then.  I went to Fairlane Mall where the throng of customers were over-eager and rude and I had enough after less than an hour and left for home.

For me, today I am content to enjoy my Thanksgiving leftovers, wrap my hands around a cup of aromatic cappuccino and to begin writing out my Christmas cards and letters, the latter are for my late mom’s friends who have yet to climb aboard the social media train and enter cyberspace.

Also eliminated from my holiday tasks is the time spent decorating for one full day on the day after Thanksgiving and then taking the decorations down in an all-day event on New Year’s Day.  Though the house is small, it required tucking away the everyday knickknacks, then remembering where everything was hidden some five weeks later.  Months later, my mom or I would open a bureau drawer and find a little hand-carved duck tucked under a sweater that we forgot to put back out on the shelf and never missed.  The wreath is on the door and Marcella, the brown fuzzy reindeer with the Scotch-plaid antlers is sitting on the corner cabinet – call me Scrooge, but these days I keep it simple.

This dreary and drizzly day put a kibosh on walking unfortunately, but did permit some extra and welcome Zzzzzs, but I hope to be up and at it once again tomorrow.


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Thanksgiving – it’s not a “glutton-free” holiday.


Well, Thanksgiving Day started out with the pitter patter of rain, and from the cozy confines of my bed, I silently cursed that sound.  I put on my radio headphones to hear WWJ reporters discussing the parade fans who were already lined up for “America’s Thanksgiving Parade” despite the incessant rain.  The runners who participated in the “Turkey Trot” 10K event were sporting rain gear as they queued up at 7:30 a.m. sharp, and, it was still raining when the participants in the “Stuffing Strut” 5K run began an hour later.  There were even worries for damage to the floats, as well as the rain’s effect on the “big heads” cast of characters who stroll along the parade route.

Hearing this dismal and dreary forecast, I quickly resigned myself there’d be no walk today and just left the headphones on and went out to the kitchen to make breakfast.  Even though the rain had not dampened the spirits of most paradegoers, the water spigot indeed turned off just before the 89th annual event was about to start – nice work Mother Nature!

So … I was good to go as well.  I quickly drained that second cup of coffee and got dressed before the rain made an encore appearance.

The sky was still a little “iffy looking” like it might rain again but I took a chance and didn’t take an umbrella.

The first thing I noticed as I walked down my driveway was that I was the only homeowner on the street who still had snow on their lawn, albeit just patches here and there.  It is the shady side of the street (as opposed to being a shady neighborhood or a shady homeowner), and, by the time I returned from my walk the snow had completely vanished.

I decided to just head down to the train tracks and back instead of going to the River, lest I cross the tracks and a longish train and the rain came along – I’d be two miles away from home.  That mindset got me remembering another “momism”, when my mom admonished me when I complained about getting caught in the rain those many years that I took the bus.  I might have been prepared with a thin trench coat and golf umbrella that I kept in my schlepp bag, but, if the winds were gusting, neither of those items really kept me dry.  My mom’s retort to my complaining would be “last time I looked you were not made of sugar.”

While I walked along Emmons Boulevard, I saw a biker, a runner and a person mowing the lawn.   I heard the vroom of a motorcycle as it whizzed by me, its rider in shirtsleeves and no helmet – but, after all, the temperature was 53 degrees when I left – somewhat of an oddity for Thanksgiving Day in Southeast Michigan.

I reached the tracks and turned right back to head home, noting the absence of ducks in the water as I crossed the footbridge – perhaps they were scarce fearing some cook’s turkey was not yet defrosted and they’d go looking for a holiday bird for their dinner table

A few weeks ago I took this photo of  the pilgrim with his sidekick “Tom”; it was a picture-perfect day and I was struck by how the orange-colored leaves exactly matched the color of the pumpkin.  Today as I passed this cute inflatable decoration, the wind had the pair wobbling to and fro, and the tree, so resplendent in this photo, was now completely bare.

My own turkey trot today yielded another four miles to my total for 2015, and, as I rounded the bend to go up my street, it started to sprinkle just a bit.  So, I was feeling blessed that the weather cooperated for me to get in a walk, and that I have the good health to do so.  It also gave me license to gobble ’til I wobble and enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner without any guilt.

I leave you with this thought:  “no need to count calories today – just your blessings.”

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Whatever did the Pilgrims and Indians do without Meijer?


I took advantage of this clear day to take a jaunt to Meijer.  The snow has vanished from the sidewalks and it’s beginning to warm up again.  I only needed a handful of items so I decided to do that three-mile roundtrip on foot.

The photo above is from my neighbor’s harvest display, but its pumpkins have fallen prey to the local squirrels who have sunk their incisors right into the waxy rind.  The other homeowners’ décor along the way was a cornucopia of Summer garden flags and porch pots, some pumpkins and cornstalks, and, of course, Christmas inflatables and wire lit reindeer.  In the chill air, the occasional birdsong was magic to my ears and the squirrels were racing back and forth glad to see some of the snow had melted so that they could finally find their hidden treasures.

The store was bustling with activity, even though they are open tomorrow for Thanksgiving.  Missing this morning, however, was the man on the motorized scooter who plays the harmonica – he usually does his shopping, then parks his “wheels” near the checkout area and starts to play a song – any song.  Everyone pauses to listen and then the lavish praise begins.  Then that harmonica player pulls the instrument from his mouth and gives everyone a rather sheepish smile.

As people streamed from the checkout lanes and headed out to their cars, it was a happy crowd, eager for the upcoming opportunity to break bread and renew ties with loved ones on this annual feast day.  As I paused to don my gloves before walking outside, I watched a young girl’s delight as she rode “Sandy”, the mechanical horse.  I watched out of the corner of my eye as the horse “galloped” to the tune of the Bonanza TV show theme.  All too soon the action was over and the rider and horse came to a dead halt until Mom put another penny in the slot … then away she went once again.  It brought back some warm memories of the horse at the Dominion Grocery Store at Hopedale Plaza in Oakville when I was growing up, only it was one thin dime for me to be that cowgirl with the wide grin.

Hope you will make some wonderful memories to carry you through this Thanksgiving weekend … and beyond.

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What a difference a day makes!


The landscape in Lincoln Park, as well as most of Michigan, looks like someone with a very large paintbrush, with bristles dipped in white, went to town.  My Facebook friend Leslie posted pictures Saturday afternoon of their growing snowfall out in Highland, then finally her husband went out with his snow blower and a ruler – there was a solid foot.  We had only about two inches, but along with the beauty of those pristine white crystals came ice.  I christened the new shovel but not the new boots and I believe I’ll pass on the walking for a day – maybe two – until it warms up a bit.  I came back into the house to grab the camera for a picture of my neighbor Marge’s deck.  I often mention glancing at her large thermometer when I leave for my walk and this morning it was wearing a snowy “cap” and though you can’t read the temperature it was about 27 degrees.  It was so incredibly quiet when I went outside .  When I made my way around to the backyard, I heard a tinkling noise, much like if you’ve ever bumped your head on someone’s chandelier and the crystals move back and forth wildly until the fixture stops moving.  Well, I traced the noise  …  it was two small trees in my back garden who have not yet lost their foliage.  Those yellow leaves were dripping with ice and the branches were laden with snow.  That combination of ice and snow was so heavy that those leaves were dropping right off the trees one by one … plink, plink, plink as they hit the crystallized mulch.

“When snow falls, nature listens.” ~ Antoinette van Kleeff

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So I “snuck” in a walk before the snow began …


Hurrah for that!  I got up early this morning, thinking that maybe I could just scurry out for a quick walk and beat the snow event that was targeted to begin at 9:00 a.m.

While still in my pjs, I peered through the peephole and all I could see was a slight smattering of snow on some of the vehicles parked near my house.  Well, that was promising.  Plus, it was 33 degrees – though I can’t remember all those things I learned way back in grade school some 50 plus (ahem) years ago, I do remember that water freezes at 32 degrees, so I figured I was good to go.

Before I left, I went downstairs to explore the cedar closet for some warm woolens and polar fleece items in my collection of toasty togs from my bus-riding days.  In the back of the closet, I discovered an old pair of heavy stirrup pants.  I had forgotten all about them; they were a godsend during the many years I took the bus.  So, I decided I’d wear them today on my walk.  However, wrangling and getting into those stretch pants, was about as difficult as the first time I tried wearing pantyhose back in the day.   I was hoping to get out the door fairly quickly and could not seem to get the front seams lined up on those pants!  I pulled them this way and that, however, I ended up having seams going west and east instead of in perfect vertical lines down the front of my legs.  I soon grew exasperated and just left them “as is”, and, it was about that time I decided all these years later, I could now commiserate when my mom would complain how the seams in her nylon stockings did not line up just so.  I remember I’d watch her struggle and just be glad I didn’t have that problem with my leotards.  Finally, I was ready to head out, despite the sinking feeling like I should be walking backward in those silly stirrup pants.

The pavement was damp, but there was no ice and I was able to stride confidently in my walking shoes – no need to christen the new hiking/snow boots yet.  It was really cloudy and I glanced upward as I walked along.  Those low-hanging gray clouds certainly suggested a snow sky and I walked rather quickly to get four miles in so I could return home before the sky opened up and spit out all those promised snowflakes.

Down to the train tracks was the plan and as I passed over the footbridge that separates Lincoln Park and Wyandotte,  I looked over to see a large group of mallards congregating near the reeds.  I was sorry I hadn’t thought to take along some bread for them in my haste to get while the gettin’ was good.  Those ducks just paddled along in the still water, totally oblivious to the impending weather forecast.

After pausing a few minutes, I left the bridge and hurried along.  I soon realized I was the only person walking down Emmons Boulevard  this morning – even the dog walkers were sleeping in.  Perhaps everyone was at the grocery store trying to beat the crowd and the inclement weather as they gathered up their Thanksgiving Day vittles.

I got to the tracks and turned on my heel to head back, and soon I noticed spots of precip on my sleeve.  I couldn’t tell if it was liquid or frozen crystals, but I picked up the pace a bit at that point.  As I neared my neighborhood, the sky opened up and suddenly flurries galore dotted my clothes.  I hustled into the house, glad to have gotten the miles in before the snow intensified.

[Image by photographer Dreamy Pixel at Life of Pix]

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It’s finally time for toques and turtlenecks …


… and puffy parkas and heavy, lug-soled boots.

Winter is on the horizon, but wait … it is not on the calendar for another month yet.  The weather folks are all hyped up about Winter Storm Bella that is slated to slam us in the overnight hours and through the day tomorrow – right now we define the arrival of this two-to-four-inch snowfall as “slammin’ us” since it is the first snow of the season.  But, just wait, El Nino or not, by the time we reach February two to four inches of snow is really nothing special; it’s just another ho-hum snow event.

This morning was brrrrrrrrrrrrrisk to be sure.  Halfway on my three-mile excursion, I stopped to flip up the collar of my polo shirt, not to look preppy, but because my neck was cold, so a turtleneck sweater or a warm scarf is in order before the next jaunt out – in fact, now all the “big guns” must come out – the heavyweight gear.

Tomorrow morning I need to hunt down some warmer accessories and getting out the Winter coat is a must.  Thus far, I’ve resisted donning a bulky Winter coat because quite frankly it wasn’t really necessary.  I’d just pile on a layer or two more under my sweatshirt jacket and I was just comfortable.  But tomorrow morning, I must get prepared for the onslaught of Winter weather – ugh.

The wind seemed to whip right through the fibers in my loosely knit hat and I pulled it down further onto my ears against the biting wind.  I thought of my mom as I walked along because she would be working her knitting needles furiously every Fall to create a handmade toque with matching mitts and scarf from the time I was a little tyke.  Back then, as soon as it was cold enough, I’d be straining at the bit to wear my new “woolen gear”.  Besides the new hand-knit creations, I carried a little hand-knitted bag with a drawstring in my coat pocket; it was just big enough to slip in a tube of “Lipsol” (the Canadian version of “ChapStick”) and a hanky to be ready for those inevitable sniffles from the cold air hitting your face (because “a lady never sniffs, she dabs at her nose”) – so, with those items I was set to weather the weather.

There is just something wrong when the snow flies before the leaves have all been disposed of.  Our last yard waste pickup is next week and all the trees have not yet shook their leaves loose  There are leaf-stained sidewalks galore and they are just begging for the clean and pristine snow to wipe those ugly spots off.  Me … I’d rather just look at those leaf-stained sidewalks and walk on them and not go slip-slidin’ away.

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The “S” word is being bandied about for this weekend …


… and it doesn’t sit right with me.  I’d be just as happy to see those new walking boots languishing in their box in the closet, rather than on my feet as I plod through the snow.  I say this even though I was happy to buy them so that I might continue the walking regimen right through the entire Winter season.   Well … the snow was bound to happen soon or later.  It’s just that we’ve had such a glorious Fall, why spoil it with snow?

Keeping up with the trend all week, the temps were mild but a little breezy when I left the house on my walk.  Down to the train tracks and back was all I could muster this morning since I turned off the alarm and laid my head back down “just for a minute” and awoke with a start almost an hour later.  Oops!  And, then it seemed I was playing catch-up all day long to recover that lost time.

Along the way in Wyandotte, it was garbage day and there were many people raking furiously to get all those leaves bagged and to the curb by the time the truck came by.  Some of the homes with large properties and multiple trees had as many as twenty or more yard waste bags lined up in neat rows near the curb.  You can tell everyone’s favorite big box store or grocery store by the name emblazoned on the bag.  I had to grin when I saw the yard waste bags from Lowe’s that said “Whew, I’m stuffed!” and indeed they were crammed full to the brim with crinkly leaves.  See … stuffed is not just equated with turkeys and how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner.

But don’t despair that all has withered and fallen off or died on the vine because I saw a magnolia tree with buds ready to burst and roses that are still beautifully in bloom extending our Indian Summer one day at a time.  I leave you with this thought:

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of Summer as a fine opal carries the color of moonrise. – Gladys Taber

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