The last two weekends were very full of activity, plus I was really sick the week of Thanksgiving, so I decided to be grateful for some downtime and do whatever I wanted to this weekend. I made no plans other than to follow my nose and get my house clean.
Friday night I decided last minute to meet my friends Karen and Bob down at the Christmas tree lighting in downtown St. Joe. The lights have been up for awhile, but Friday was the office ceremony where they flipped the switch.
Sometimes this town reminds me of a movie set. With its quaint Victorian beauty and charm, it’s the ideal place for little hometown gatherings. We are so lucky because we have fantastic restaurants and an abundance of locally-owned small business. In fact, most of the businesses that were here 13 years ago are open and still thriving. I give a lot of credit to the influx of Chicago folks that swarm the area to enjoy the beach in the summer. They bring lots of money and “vacation spending” which focuses on the small businesses that stay creative. As a perk, the locals get to enjoy the benefits after the crowds leave. It’s like an 8 month beach vacation (albeit cold) right at home.
Friday night was no different. The storefronts featured live mannequins, and local crowds were walking in the streets with their dogs, kids and elderly relatives in wheelchairs. It was just so sweet and festive. I grabbed a hot chocolate and brought Ashok with me to enjoy the lights down on the bluff. The light show lined the sidewalk on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, and I felt so happy to be a part of it this year.
Most of the day Saturday I ran errands and cleaned my house. I picked up a snow shovel because this is the week it starts. We have snow in the forecast three times this week. A man at the Christmas lights fest laughed at me in my parka for the 40-degree evening. He said we are getting a polar vortex this week. A couple of years ago they had one come through, and it dropped to 40 below. Note: I checked the weather. This one is not going to be that bad… but it will bring snow. So, now I have a snow shovel and a bag of Safe Paw snow melt on order from Amazon. I’m just about ready.
I decided to go down to the local skating rink for Open Skate last night. It’s an outdoor rink, so it didn’t open until it turned colder which was right around the holiday. It was my first time at an Open Skate not designed for people taking lessons, and I enjoyed the high energy skating of the teens and pre-teens on the ice. As I plodded around with my tiny little glides, I hoped that one day I would be as comfortable as the rest of the folks out there. A lady and her daughter looked so graceful skating around in their figure skates. I wanted what they had.
When I was taking off my skates, I happened to be sitting next to the lady that was ice skating so beautifully. I asked her how long she’d been skating, and she said this was her first time back after 4 years. To my surprise, she and her lovely daughter had just moved here in the last couple of months from Vermont. She needed a life change after a divorce. She chose this area because her sisters lives close by in Chicago. But she fell in love with St. Joe. I have met so many women my age and older who have moved here to retire or to start over. In fact my whole block is full of single women. I got her number, and I hope to catch up with her soon. I won’t be skating with her for awhile, but we can sure grab a hot chocolate or go for a stroll downtown.
I started today with some yoga and meditation. I have my ice skating lessons this afternoon, and I plan to meet a new friend for coffee and a bite to eat afterwards. I hope today will be a lazy day. It’s cold, and we are supposed to get our first “sticking” snow tonight. We are looking at 3-5 inches if the forecasters are on target. I may have to get up early and shovel snow in the morning! I’ll let you know how it goes.