Coffeehouse #12: Root Cafe in Fennville


Last weekend while I was driving around Michigan, I noticed a coffeehouse in Fennville that had slipped my mind. When my brother Terry and his family were here we stopped at Root Cafe, but I promptly forgot about it. It is a truly lovely cafe and art shop.

It was late in the afternoon on Sunday, so I opted for their green tea latte, and I splurged on a lemon ginger cupcake. Both were light and hit the mark on providing a little energy for the afternoon. The gentleman that served me was a new employee, and he and his manager were really nice. They said they make everything in the shop except for a few items like the bread which is made at the bakery next door. They try to source as many of their ingredients locally as they can. And that’s a good thing because they are in the middle of a LOT of farmland.


Fennville is a small town off the beaten path and in the middle of lots and lots of farmland. In fact the only reason I’ve driven through is to go to the Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery and to eat at Crane’s Restaurant on the grounds of their orchard. I asked them if they have much tourism there, and they said they have some but certainly not like the beach towns nearby. But she assured me that the events they have there are a vital part of the community year round.


The cafe was beautifully decorated, and there’s a gorgeous antique sofa that I’d love to spend a few hours with. Tables were decoupage newsprint from the local newspaper, and the rest of the furniture looked like antiques. It felt like a comfy, eclectic living room.


They host a dinner theater right there in the cafe. I looked around and asked “where?” “Well we just move all the chairs and do it right here in the cafe,” she said. How cool is that? I’m going to have to keep my eyes on their event calendar to attend one of those. And the food on the menu looks so good I definitely want to return for a meal. Stay tuned for more info on this place. I am quite sure it will be in my regular rotation – now that I remember it!


Sunday Night Check-In: Pseudo-Spring


A week or so ago we had an almost 60-degree day. The rains came, the snow melted, the rivers rose. Ever since then, it shocks me that its cold outside when I go out. I expect it to be warmer even though my weather app says its still in the 30s. In fact, last week, we had four days of sub-freezing temperatures. It is NOT spring by any stretch of the imagination, but my imagination is running wild.


I ran Friday night after work. It was much colder than I thought. The sun was out, so I ran down to the lighthouse, through downtown and through the lakefront park. It felt so good to kick off the weekend that way. I got home, curled up in bed and continued reading The Great Alone.

I spent a lot of time reading this weekend. After living a couple of winters up here, I could relate to the snow-covered Alaskan scenery. If I really stretched my imagination, I could even imagine the long period of darkness with the cold, brutal winters. I couldn’t relate to the characters. Or maybe I related too well. The alcoholism, codependency and out-of-control rage really got under my skin. And the mother who thought she was some kind of savior for standing by her man while he was beating the crap out of her and scarring her kid made me sick to my stomach. I wanted them all to get eaten by a grizzly bear. But I did finish the book. It was relaxing to be taken away into a fantasy land that is not of my own making.

The Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery….

I hiked the dunes and the Lake Michigan beach yesterday with a friend, and I made a conscious effort to leave my camera behind. I’ve gotten tired of social media. In fact, I’ve even been struggling a bit with blogging. It was time to re-up my membership to my blog site this week, and I seriously debated justing deleting it. But I decided to push through and continue. Maybe I’m just in a slump. If I feel the same way next year, then it may be history.

The time change took a lot out of me, and I didn’t feel like running today. I loaded up Ashok, and we drove to the Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery to pick up some artisan cheese. It was such a nice day, so we did a little exploring at the nationally significant New Richmond Bridge. A little boardwalk and a walking bridge crossed the beautiful Kalamazoo River. We walked around for a bit and enjoyed the sunshine. Ashok even spotted a muskrat which caused a great deal of canine excitement.

I stopped at a couple of coffeehouses today. On the way out, I stopped at the Phoenix Coffeeshop (#11 for my tour) in Benton Harbor. It had closed for a bit last fall but has now reopened under new management. Japhy, the new owner, told me this is actually the third rising of the Phoenix. He didn’t really intend to open a business, but when the old shop closed, he felt it was a big loss for the community. They serve Dagger Mountain coffee and a limited but delicious lunch menu. I wasn’t in the mood for coffee, so he suggested the homemade chai, and I ordered the Power Bowl for lunch.

The chai was phenomenal, and the Power Bowl was a great combo of quinoa, black beans, spice and bell peppers. While I ate, I enjoyed the bookstore atmosphere. Japhy said they are working on their own menu of bakery items, so I look forward to that in the future. I’m glad they reopened. We have a few coffee shops here, but I do like the location of this one, and the light streaming through the windows was really cozy.

The owner Japhy and my Power Bowl!

I will enjoy the longer daylight hours after work. I’ll be starting some trail running soon as part of my training plan, and I look forward to having enough daylight to do it after work. Winter may not be over, but I think the worst of it is behind us. The next few months will gradually bring warmer temperatures, spring flowers and loads of sunshine. I’ve already booked a spring camping trip, and I plan to outline a few backpacking trips real soon. It’s not spring yet, but I’m going to spring forward into the thought anyway.

P.S. I’ll review the other coffeehouse later this week!


Hiking in Newaygo and Coffeehouse #8: The Bitter End


Ahhhhhh…. finally. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. Today it was warm enough and dry enough to get out for a long hike on the North Country Trail. Yes, I can hike around for a an hour or two with my dog in the snow, but I was looking forward to a day warm enough to get out and hit the trail for a long, long walk. I could hardly wait to get out of bed this morning – even though I was up until midnight last night.


I picked out a spot on the trail map within a 2 hour driving distance, finished up my coffee, packed my backpack and hit the road. On the way, I listened to an issue of the She Explores podcast on women over fifty. It was very inspiring. I saw myself in several of them, and I was inspired to hear that they continue to be active while they are accepting a different level of intensity as they age.

I didn’t really start hiking until I turned 50, and I only started backpacking in the last few years. I’m not sure how long I will backpack, but I do hope to get a few trips in this year. There’s just something about waking up in the woods that feels wildly spiritual. And my dog loves it. I know that it won’t be too many years until that might be too hard on her, so it makes me want to get out and do it now. I refuse to stop until it’s obvious I must. And I can definitely enjoy day hiking.

I wanted to get my #8 coffeehouse on the way in, so I stopped at The Bitter End Coffeehouse in Grand Rapids. It was tucked away in the cutest little area called the university district. Students probably love its 24/7 hours. It had the look of an English pub. The ambience was dark and masculine, and when I saw the ceiling in all of its original grandeur, I said “Wow” under my breath.


They had a really nice menu with lots of specialty drinks, so it took me a bit to decide. I’ve been daydreaming about the Kona coffee I had when I was in Hawaii, so I asked for the Kona mocha and walked around while I waited. Unfortunately, I did not realize that the Kona mocha was a frozen drink, so I was a little taken aback when the barista handed it to me. But I promised myself I was going to roll with the agenda on this coffeehouse exploration, so I didn’t make a fuss. I’d already paid for it, and it was my mistake any way. It was very yummy and quite a fancy treat for 9:30 AM.

This coffeehouse roasts their own beans, so I purchased some of their Kona beans to make at home. Recently, I got a KitchenAid Precision Press, and I love the coffee that is coming out of that thing. I love French Press coffee, but I never get the measurements right. This one helps keep it consistent. The sieve is better, too, so I don’t get grounds in my coffee.

I will definitely stop back by The Bitter End when I have time to stay. And, since they are open all the time, it won’t be hard to schedule a visit.

Ashok and I drove up to Newaygo which is a little less than an hour north of Grand Rapids. I’ve been up there hiking before on the North Country Trail but not on this section. I planned on doing around 9-10 miles, so I turned on my Runkeeper app to see if it would track my distance. Some snow and ice remained on the trail, but for the most part, it was dry. It was a nice forested hike, and we walked up and down small inclines, across gravel roads and rested when we wanted.  There were no fancy views or water features, but it was a great way to get a jump start on spring. I look forward to seeing wildflowers soon!

Around the 4-mile mark, we came upon a grassy meadow. It was quite lovely and very different than the habitat we’d been seeing. A sign told us this was a Coastal Plain Marsh, and, apparently it’s quite rare. It has the same plants and trees that inhabit the marshes up on the East coast. They also contain some very rare animals including the Massasauga rattlesnake. These little spots could be the remnants of the preglacial era. What’s more, the sign said there were 40 of these rare eco-systems in Michigan. When I looked it up on the internet, there’s one just down the highway from my home! Put that on the list.

So now I’m curled up on my sofa with one tuckered out dog and two very affectionate kitties. My house is still a mess as I played all weekend. That’s just the way it goes. I enjoyed a great party with friends both Friday and Saturday nights, got my monthly facial yesterday, ran a long run yesterday and enjoyed an adventure today. I’m thinking I’ll crawl up under the covers and go to bed early tonight. I’m sure I’ll hear no complaints from Ashok.





Coffeehouse #6: Play Date in Muskegon


Tomorrow it will be 55 degrees and raining. The snow will disappear like whipped cream in my mocha. I decided I’d best pack up my girl and head into the woods before it was all gone. We’ll probably get more, but you never know. Better to strike while the iron is hot, I always say. I had Muskegon on the brain, so we packed up our hiking gear and headed north.

I thought we’d head to the Winter Sports Complex in Muskegon State Park, but then I had second thoughts. Maybe I’d prefer something quieter. I decided on the trails in North Beach Park in Ferrysburg. This lovely little county park had 10 miles of trails complete with stairs and boardwalks up and over the tallest dunes. Fabulous views of frozen Lake Michigan took my breath away, and we hiked for about two hours in the woods. I will definitely return there for trail running in the warmer months.

I knew that I had to visit another coffee shop this weekend, so my google search for “coffee near me” gave me several options. I drove by one, and it looked more like a cafe than a coffee shop, so I took the next one that popped up – Ryke’s Bakery. It didn’t really look like a coffee shop from the outside, but I decided to go in anyway. If I’m going to go on this year-long adventure I need to trust the journey.


It was a bakery rather than a coffeehouse. But they did feature Kona coffee, and I happen to be in love with Kona coffee ever since I went to Kona. I ordered a cup and told Cassandra about my blog project. “Would you like a tour?” she asked. She told me the building was an old dairy mill. “Those ramps over there,” she said pointing toward the cafe,” are for the horses that came right through here.” She pointed me to some pictures of the old dairy carriages, and I took a look while she was getting Ashley to give me a tour.


I know it’s a bad picture, but it’s the best I could do!


The bakery has been in business in Muskegon since 1937 and has been in its current location since 1967. They have over 60 employees baking, preparing and serving lunch and catering in the local area. Their business was built on their Butter Thins which were displayed in a big cabinet up front, and the recipe has never changed. But they do much more than that now. A night shift bakes and decorates their cupcakes which are delivered to customers all over town.

Ashley, who is fresh back from Disney’s college program in Orlando, has been working with Ryke’s for several years, and she said with a giggle that the best part of her job is getting to bring home cake remnants. She also told me that I just missed the Paczki that they sell on Fat Tuesday. Being a Louisiana girl who is familiar with the King Cake eaten during Carnival Season, I had to know more about this delicacy. This Michigan tradition has roots in Poland. It is pronounced (POONCH-kee), and I could not get it right. I am so sorry that I missed it this year. I will have to remember next year to stop by for one … or maybe two.

Me and my tour guide, Ashley…

Mel came out just as I was leaving. She’s from Memphis, and she wanted me to pronounce ‘bayou’ because she gets teased about the way she pronounces it. We shared memories of our favorite southern town, and then I grabbed some Butter Thins and headed out to the State Park. Note: Since I’m supposed to be writing about coffee, I should say that their coffee was excellent, and I even refilled my cup before I left. Ashok and I promptly ate several of the Butter Thins which were divine.

On the way to the State Park, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the ice fisherman on the lake. I had a chance to talk with Jim, a retired game warden, and his grandson who were headed out for some afternoon fishing on the two feet of ice we had today. They showed me the tool they use for cutting the hole and explained how their little boat opened up into a tent. I am fascinated by this whole ice-fishing business. I gave them the rest of my Butter Thins and wished them luck on their fishing.

On the way home, I spotted a place called Brooklyn’s Beans, Bombers and Bagels. I might as well get #7 while I’m at it! But you’ll have to wait until later this week for the write-up. It deserves its own space. Stay tuned.

All in all, I met some pretty special people today, drank some great coffee and learned a lot about the history and traditions in Muskegon. I would love to go back and experience ice fishing, do some more hiking and trail running up there and grab lunch at Ryke’s. And when I stopped by the Winter Sports Complex, I found out they have an ice skating trail! That would be interesting to try for sure.

I left my house today without a plan. If I’d stuck with my original idea, I would have missed the best parts of today. People really do like to talk about their hobbies and their businesses if I just take the time to listen. Some days it’s better just to let go of the reins and let the road guide you.

How could you let go of the reins and let the journey take you this week?




Coffeehouse #5: Whistle Stop Grocery


I have a goal to hit two coffee shops this weekend. If I’m going to hit 57 by next January 15, I better get sipping. One of my local favorites has been closed for the month of January. Since this area is a vacation spot for summer Chicago travelers and a sleepy little rural Michigan area otherwise, January is a popular time for shopkeepers and restaurants to close. I get used to planning an outing and having to punt because the place of interest has a closed sign on its door. Luckily for me, the Whistle Stop Grocery had opened for the season yesterday.


The Whistle Stop has been in business for 20 years, so I visited when I lived here before. Back then it didn’t have specialty coffees and wasn’t nearly as nice as it is today. Three years ago, the new owners purchased it and invested in making it a gourmet grocery, bakery and coffee shop all in one. There is no indoor seating with the exception of a small bar, but the outdoor seating is phenomenal. In the summer, I’ve spent many an hour mingling with the tourists on their patio. It was a tad too chilly to sit outside today.


Emily, the store manager and one of the owners, said this place was really special to her family. She remembers vacationing here as a child and walking down the country roads with her change to buy candy at the Whistle Stop Grocery. She’s thrilled to be part of its transformation from a grocery store to something truly special. All of the food they sell is made on the premises, and they currently employ a bakery chef and pastry maker. I met the barista, Jess, who is also an experienced coffee roaster, and she told me their plan is to have their own roast in the not so distant future. For now, they brew Madcap which you’ll remember from my previous coffeehouse reviews.


Me and Emily

My mocha was delicious, and I almost got away without buying any of the sweets but was stopped dead in my tracks by the coconut pecan biscotti. I am a devoted biscotti fan, but I’m picky enough that it’s hard to find one that I really like. They are more often than not flavorless or just so hard you have to dunk them to eat them (or break them with a hammer). This one was perfectly crisp and flavorful. I had my choice on whether to eat it out of hand or dunk it in my coffee. I chose to do a bit of both.



I had hoped my friend Alan who lived near the Whistle Stop could join me this morning, but he was busy being a helpful neighbor to a friend. When I mentioned Alan to Alex, the young man who sold me my coffee, a big smile came across his face, and he assured me that he knew Alan and all of the regulars. In fact, he said the best part about working at the Whistle Stop was the people. In the summer, the crowds swell exponentially, and the grocery just reorganized to handle the growth comfortably. He said it’s really cool when the occasional Chicago celebrity pops in, but he really loves getting to know the local people.


I will be back to the Whistle Stop sooner rather than later. It’s one of my favorites in this area. Don’t worry, I won’t count it again. But I think I’d like to check out their own roast when they get that new roaster, and I’d of course like to have some more of that biscotti!

Sunday Night Check-In: Coffeehouse #4


I spent yesterday working around the house. It was a disaster. A contractor has been remodeling my bathrooms and my closets, and between the snow and construction dust and boots tracking in and out, my house was disgusting. I scrubbed everything and even rearranged the furniture to make my house more livable. It felt so much better that I fell asleep like a baby last night and slept until 7 AM. That is extremely unusual for me.




After shoveling snow all Friday night and then cleaning house all day Saturday, I woke up with a desire to take a ride. I loaded up Ashok and we headed to Holland to check out coffeehouse #4, 205 Coffee Bar. I’ve been following them on Instragram, and it seemed like a really cool place.


As soon as I walked in the secret door to coffee, the owner Jacqueline greeted me. She had a vision of this space where people could come and hang out, and it has certainly manifested. A beautiful mural on the outside attracts brides and photographers from all walks of life. I didn’t have anyone to take my picture or I would have done it, too, but I guess it gives me a reason to go back.

The bar serves classic coffee drinks, Stovetop coffee and espresso and Kombucha which is made locally from all kinds of wonderful natural flavors. I sampled them all. The lime jalapeno was really interesting, but I loved the strong flavor of the beet brew. She recommended the brown sugar and molasses latte, and I went for it. It was smooth and slightly sweet. It was so good that when I spilled some into my saucer I picked up the saucer and poured it back in my cup. I didn’t want to miss a drop.

The business strategist, David, for Stovetop Roasters was also in the shop, and we chatted for awhile about visiting coffee shops wherever we went, yoga and blogging. He recommended I visit Nashville for the premier coffee shop experience, so I might have to plan a trip. Meanwhile, I’ll definitely make 205 a frequent stop when I’m in the area.


I had a dog in the car, so I needed to head out to take her for a walk. We drove to Holland State Park in the hopes that we could find a clear enough path for a short walk. It had snowed again last night, so the snow was very deep. We were able to find a path out to the lighthouse and even walked out to edge of the channel to see Lake Michigan. Ducks and gulls swam in the water that surrounded the ice, and the lake looked like the moon to me. Only a few people were out, but we were all enjoying the day and the raw beautiful landscape.

All in all, it was a really good weekend. I got in a run, some snow shoveling which was a rocking upper body workout, and I got to relax and enjoy the snow on Sunday. I love the feeling when my house is clean and put together, so that’s a great way to start the week. I hope you have a great week, and I’ll leave you with some pics from a snowy Michigan weekend in February.

Sunday Night Check-In: Winter Fest



When I lived up here last time, I don’t remember doing much in the wintertime. My ex was a wuss when it came to cold weather, and he thought winter was made for waiting for spring b*tching about the weather. I didn’t know any different. As a southerner, you hunker down and drip your faucets when it gets cold enough for water to freeze. But it’s a lot shorter wait in the south for springtime.


Last year I walked downtown with Ashok in February and noticed a big festival going on.  (You can read my blog here.) Ice carvers filled the streets, and onlookers drank hot chocolate and shopped. In the middle of the square was a massive ice cube, and they lit a bonfire inside it. The fire burned out and my hot chocolate turned cold before the ice melted. I would never have imagined such a thing.


So, this year I promised myself I’d get out and experience the winter festivals. I ran a 5K in the Magical Ice Fest in Saint Joseph Saturday morning, and then drove up to the Icebreaker Festival in South Haven. The 5K was really fun. It was cold. I mean, it’s February in Michigan, right? We had snow on the ground, and plenty of it had turned to ice. The announcer told us to watch our footing as there were a couple of slippery places on the course. I looked under my feet, and I was standing on a solid bed of ice. Hmmmmm….


The race was beautiful and uneventful, and I didn’t even look at my time when I came in. I just enjoyed the day and the event. We got a fabulous big mug instead of a shirt, and I could not wait to get home and fill that baby with hot cocoa. The post-race food was divine. Sliced fruit, homemade chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, marshmallows and popcorn were placed in front of crockpots of melted chocolate for dipping. The South Bend Chocolate Factory provided trays of their finest chocolates. Biggby Coffee provided coffee and hot chocolate with plenty of whipped cream for topping. I will definitely sign up for this one again!

After watching some ice carvers, Ashok and I headed up to South Haven for their Icebreaker festival. I’d seen the billboard a hundred times, and I really wanted to go. This was a much bigger festival, and it took awhile to find parking. I finally decided to park down by the lighthouse and walk into town. The lighthouse catwalk was covered in snow and ice, and we walked around with a few other adventurous folks enjoying the scenery and the challenge of standing upright.

It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people about. The festival featured cardboard sled racing, ice sculptures and a Frozen Fish Fling. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the Frozen Fish Fling, but my phone died before it started. A large crowd gathered round and cheered and jeered as adults and children flung big frozen fish as far as their arm would propel it. Laughter filled the air, and a good time was had by all.

I went to yoga this morning, had lunch at a local deli-bakery, took a nap and then took Ashok out to Grand Mere State Park for a walk in a snowstorm. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend. Well, actually it wasn’t all perfect. When I got out of the car yesterday, my beautiful mug fell out and broke into several pieces. I am heartbroken. I guess I’ll just have to do it all again next year.

Y’all have a good week, and quit b*tching about the weather. If you have ice, channel a Michigander and make ice sculptures.




Coffeehouse #3: Sweetland


Last weekend I ran a 5K with some work friends in Grand Rapids. In case you don’t know, Grand Rapids is the city of cool here in Southwest Michigan. While this area is a beautiful slice of Americana with much to offer for the vacation traveler wanting to slow down, locals desire a little more boil to their simmer. Grand Rapids roils in comparison.


The 5k was really fun. Runners were encouraged to wear their pajamas but I never noticed that on the website until I got there. There was a festival afterwards featuring local music, food trucks, hot chocolate and, of course, Michigan’s most famous product – microbrews.

Since I was in the land of cool, I knew I must try to check off a coffeehouse. A Google search for “coffee around me” led me to Sweetland. I was a little confused because the reviews and Google told me it was a coffeehouse, but it was a candy shop. My friendly barista Jack told me they had just added the coffee shop to this location to replace the ice cream department. I have to agree that coffee season up here in the land of the frozen north is much longer than ice cream season. Seems like a good move to me.


The quaint little section of the family-owned candy shop was brand new and featured tables made from the wood floor of a bowling alley. Everything was sparkly clean, and I was the only walk-up visitor at 4 PM on a Saturday. The drive-thru was hopping. Jack made me a mocha with Madcap coffee. If that sounds familiar, that’s because the last coffeehouse I visited in Niles featured Madcap coffee as well. I must visit one of the Madcap locations since this coffee seems to be the foundation for a number of semi-local coffeehouses.

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A visit to their website tells me that Sweetland Candies has been an integral part of the Grand Rapids community since 1919. I like that they are open to innovative ideas to grow their business, and a lovely little coffeehouse seems like a great modern addition to their portfolio. Chocolate and coffee are delicious together.

The mocha was delightfully classic and not too sweet. I can’t stand mochas with so much chocolate and sugar that it drowns out the taste of the coffee. This one was perfectly balanced. I asked if Madcap provides their recipes, but Jack said they have their own. They had a number of unique flavor combinations, and I’ll have to stop by to try some more in the future.


If you are in Grand Rapids, I recommend you stop by one of their coffee shop locations. I visited the North Plainfield store. If you stop by, tell Jack hi for me!

CoffeeHouse #1: Something New for 2018


I’m looking for a blog project. I want to be writing more frequently, but I’m struggling with topics. When I lived in Baton Rouge, I did a project called Love Baton Rouge where I wrote daily about something I loved in Baton Rouge. In part it was a way to shift my mind about Baton Rouge, but the benefit was largely creatively. It helped me write more. My feet were held to the proverbial fire. I had no excuses for not writing.

After some feedback from friends on Facebook, I’ve decided to try something new everyday and blog about it. In addition, I’m going to honor my 57th birthday this year by going to 57 coffeehouses throughout the year. I don’t know where I’m going to find them, but I’m going to find them.

To combine those two goals this morning, I decided to start my birthday holiday with a morning breakfast visit to Caffe Tosi in Saint Joseph. I know. I’ve been to Caffe Tosi’s before. But I’ve never hung around for breakfast – at least not this time around in Michigan. I got dressed, drove downtown, parked in the bitter cold and snow and cozied up to a table for some Cinnamon French Toast and coffee. I’m not supposed to have either but it’s my birthday holiday. Screw it.


Back in December I walked in Tosi for a scone, and I told the guy behind the counter that I was going to come back and sit for awhile. It was so cozy and beautifully decorated for the holiday. He said that would be great, and I actually never made it back. I got seduced by other coffeehouses, and it just never happened. This morning, I walked in, and he said “Sharon, isn’t it?” I was blown away that he remembered my name from that short interaction. And then I was so embarrassed that I didn’t remember his. But I thought it was really sweet that he remembered me.

He brought out this beautiful round homemade cinnamon bread french toast with maple syrup, and I ate it. I ate every bite. No exaggeration, it was delicious. I watched a table of runners come in from out of the cold and cozy up for coffee at a table. I only looked at my phone to take some pictures, and I enjoyed the sparkly Valentine’s decorations that adorn the windows. I decided that I quite like Caffe Tosi. For my coffeehouse #1 in 2018, it was a good choice.

Note: I later met a group of friends for coffee on the way to Chicago. I told them I had breakfast at Caffe Tosi, and they asked me if I saw Paul there. “Paul?” I asked. Then it clicked. He didn’t remember my name because he was some superstar barista that recalls the names of every ordinary customer that walks in the door. We have mutual friends. 🙂


A Beautiful Snowy Evening

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One of my coworkers walked over to my desk today and informed me that we were getting 20 inches of snow in the next couple of days. “What?” I asked incredulously. I knew it was possible because I’d lived here before, but at that time I wasn’t having to shovel my own snow. I lived in a condo where snow removal was not in my list of responsibilities. I can’t even imagine how many times I’d have to shovel for that much snow. My arms are going to be cut by spring.

Today’s snow was fluffy and light. Snow has many, many personalities, and the light stuff is very glittery and special. It floats and sparkles across the sky and piles up on the ground in fluffy piles that go “poof” when you walk through them. Shoveling is easy because it moves and floats to the side. But all day it kept falling and falling and falling some more. Lake Michigan kept sucking up water into the atmosphere and tossing it on top of Saint Joseph. Meanwhile the below freezing temperatures keep us in the deep freeze with no melting in sight.


I went to the gym for a spinning class and ate some of Tosi’s Minestrone soup for dinner. The snow had stopped, and it was a balmy 20 degrees with no wind. It has been so cold lately that Ashok and I have not taken a walk in a long time. “You want to go for a walk?” I asked her. She jumped off the sofa and ran circles in the living room. We both got dressed for the cold and headed outside.

The neighborhood was quiet. I suppose most people were staying off the roads, so traffic was almost non-existent. A few folks were shoveling or running their snowblowers, but for the most part, we were the only ones on the streets. It was the first time I slowed down today to take a deep breath and relax. Ashok was energetically running from one pile of snow to another, wading in drifts almost over her head. She leaped like a rabbit until  she resurfaced and then rolled on the ground before shaking herself off. Her playfulness made me laugh out loud, and I felt pretty happy to be outside on such a gorgeous night.


The weather forecast looks daunting, and we won’t see temps above freezing until next Monday. The little break in the weather tonight was a real treat. I hope we see a few more surprises like that in the near future and that I can take advantage of them.