It’s Been A Feisty February

I think just about everyone living in Canada or the US will agree that February has been one wild ride of weather.

Not the kind of ride that leaves you whooping with excitement, but the kind that has you gritting your teeth and holding on for dear life, praying that it will end soon and everyone survives.

We’ve had bone-chilling cold, epic snowstorms, mild temperatures causing flooding, followed by treacherously icy conditions … and then the cycle begins all over again.

The ice has made both walking and driving … shall we say … interesting.

… and the winds!! Holy Hell-Frozen-Over, let’s not talk about the winds.

February has been behaving like a menopausal woman on an emotional roller coaster. Beware anyone who approaches unprepared.

At Woodbine Beach. This building, by the way, is an Olympic-sized above-ground swimming pool … at the water’s edge of Lake Ontario.

I can’t really complain though.

I spent the first half of the month hiding indoors while nursing a nasty cold. I was ok with watching the fury of February from the vantage point of my toasty-warm home.

While the weather outside has been frightful, I went into creative mode and spent most of my days playing with paints and stencils.

I also dusted off a manuscript I wrote several years ago when my mom passed away. I wanted to document the story of my mother and father – just two ordinary people, extraordinary to their family.

Inspired by my son-in-law who had created a wonderful photo book of their wedding last year, I started the process of converting my manuscript into a book using the app MixBook.

It’s been slow work. The original manuscript is about 75 pages and I’ve been painstakingly picking and choosing what to incorporate into the book … and how to present it.

Screen shot from my book – pages 20 and 21.

The bottom line is, I don’t have many photos of the nasty “snow events”, but lots of photos of the icy treacherous stuff.

The bottom of my driveway is a lake. and underneath that water is ice – and a lot of it.

 … and believe me when I say it’s been treacherous. I took a spill one day while out for a walk … and landed unceremoniously in a puddle. Yes – I was ok, but it was an icy soaker and a wet walk the rest of the way home.

Theo has had the right idea about surviving winter.

On cold, blustery days, he buried himself into a furry blanket and hibernated. I admit I had a couple of those days myself, competing with Theo for possession of the blanket.

Sometimes it was hard to tell where Theo ends and the blanket begins.

On mild days when the sun came out, he moved his afternoon nap outdoors.

The good news is that the days are getting noticeably longer … the promise that winter’s days are numbered.

The glow of late afternoon sun – something we haven’t seen in a long while.

Like Theo, I’m dreaming of spring.

************************************************************************

This post is part of the monthly photo feature Changing Seasons, hosted this year by Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch.

121 comments

  1. To be honest I’ve always had this perception that winters anywhere above 39Β°Latitude are like your description all winter long.

    I’m so sorry you fell, but am so happy to hear you only got wet and not injured!

    I like Theo’s plan just stay wrapped up indoors with a nice blanket.

    The book sounds really nice. I hope you finish it and comes out better than you thought it would.

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  2. I love how frightful weather often leads to cocooning and creating. I really liked your comment β€œjust two ordinary people, extraordinary to their family.” I appreciate the information on using the app MixBook. In the past I have created books (very simplistic) through Mac Photo book. I always liked how user friendly their app was and I liked the results. They now endorse a new app called Mimeograph photos. I have not yet tried this one. Thanks for sharing, Joanne.

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    • There are so many book apps now. I was a little overwhelmed when I started looking at them. Once I saw the results my son-in-law got on MixBook, I decided to just take the leap.
      In true Joanne form though, I have so many things going on at the same time, this project has stalled. I need to kick-start it again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for sharing the info. We just returned home late last night from New Zealand, our special once in a lifetime trip. Very often no wifi, or minimal. Now I can get back to organizing the 1000’s of photos and of course the stories along the way. I enjoy catching up on posts now, too, and I really like your site!

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        • Thanks Erica πŸ™‚ You had mentioned a little while ago about wifi issues, now I know why!
          A trip to New Zealand sounds wonderful. I was just talking to friends yesterday who had just returned from a cycling trip there.
          I’m looking forward to seeing your photos and reading about your stories. It is such a beautiful country.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. When I saw the picture of Theo, all cuddled in the blanket, I thought…Wow, you can’t tell which is Theo and which is the blanket…and then I read your next paragraph. 😁😁

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      • My plans for retirement have changed. I was promoted in December. Monthly retirement is based on three highest earning years, so will probably retire now in December 2020. I think I can survive until then.

        Meanwhile, my biking buddy and I have a bike trip planned for this summer. The Root River Trail in Minnesota. Check it out…it’s been on my bike trail bucket list for the last four years.

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        • Nice! The trail reminds of the first trip I did in Quebec last summer. Are you planning to do the entire trail and visit all the little towns along the way?

          btw – I went to read the reviews on TripAdvisor and there was one reviewer complaining that the trail had cracks in it and grass clippings on the trail. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! What kind of powderpuff cyclist was she?!!

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  4. The Canadian weather has been something else. Glad to hear you weren’t hurt in the fall. So treacherous. Also best wishes on your book. I’m sure it’s so much work but what a treasure it will be for your children and family.

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    • Winter is always a mixed bag of frustrating and beautiful. I’m lucky that I don’t have to venture out if I don’t want to, but I can see how winter isolates seniors in their homes – afraid of that slip-and-fall accident that changes their lives.

      Since I’ve been feeling better and getting outside more, my creative projects have stalled and I’ve abandoned any thought of finishing my book by spring. Now I’m wondering if my book will get finished by the fall 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Last day of summer here and it’s forecast to be over 30oC. We are heading to Melbourne for a family weekend and the temperatures there are going to be in the high 30s. Our weather is weird. Photobook looks great πŸ™‚

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  6. The book sounds like it is coming along just well.
    And love how you wrote order and extraordinary
    Ahhhh –
    And sorry about your fall – another reason to stay limber – whether aerial yoga or on the ground asanas – it helps us prevent injuries more and can help recovery of injury does happen. And so three cheers for a healthy body – but the cold – icy – wetness – blahhhhh

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  7. After looking at your photos I won’t be complaining about our winter. We’ve had cold and ice but not the heavy snowstorm….yet. There might be one coming this weekend but I’m perfectly fine if it chooses to find another avenue…:)
    Stay warm and safe!

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  8. Hi Joanne,
    I’m with Theo. We are in Michigan to care for my brother who is recovering from cancer surgery at UMich. After Florida, I just want to curl up and not go anywhere! I think that Florida has thinned my blood.
    I’ve also been too distracted to blog, or think of sitting at the computer. I’m hoping that things will settle down some now that he is home. But it is darn cold here!!!!

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    • I’m sorry to hear about your brother. I hope the surgery went well and he recovers quickly.

      Yeah – your thin Florida blood is no match for northern cold right now. I’m freezing so I can imagine how you are feeling!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah yes I do remember those bitter long winters we lived through in Chicago. So long. So cold. So bitter. And yes this year has been a brutal one from them, for you guys in Canada. Wish I could bottle up some sunshine and send it to you… It has been SO hot and humid here. I hate to complain….. Almost drought like conditions with severe restrictions on water usage etc.

    Your feline is adorable. I remember snuggling with our cats through those long winter days and nights. Makes such a difference to have a furry purry one, even if you have to fight for the blanket haha.

    Hang in there, spring IS coming. Really.

    Peta

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  10. February hasn’t been my friend, but really, compared to others’ winters and past winters, this one has just been wintery.
    Theo is such a clever kitty cozying up πŸ™‚

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  11. We’ve been having a weird February even here in SoCal. Lots of rain and big wind. I do like the excuse to stay inside when it’s nasty out and get some things done… or just snuggle up in a blanket like Theo. I love your family book! Those online sites make it so easy to put together something that looks very impressive. Stay warm, Joanne… and try to stay right side up!

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    • I really don’t like wind and this past year it seems we’ve had one wind storm after another. Add snow to the mix and you’ve a recipe for staying home if at all possible!

      There are several online book sites I’m aware of and once I got over the initial learning curve, it was pretty straight forward. Mine’s a little more complicated because it’s not just photos. I have pages of text as well and the book formats weren’t really designed for that … but I’m making it work πŸ˜‰

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  12. Everything in Ottawa is sheathed in ice. Sidewalks on side streets are impassable. My poor wee mutt and I are growing callouses on our butts from inactivity. And yet, your pictures make winter look romantic, lovable, cosy, especially your kitty lounging in a spot of sun.

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    • haha – the lie of a photo! πŸ˜‰

      Last night we were shovelling out from another 30’ish cm of snow. It just kept falling all day. We’ve definitely had our winter’s worth this year! Clearly I made a mistake not getting cross-country skis.
      I know what you mean about butt callouses. It’s winters like this one that make us grateful for our treadmill … the one my husband insisted we would never use πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ll stop complaining about the rain. Ice is a killer. I’d be staying indoors all winter if it looked like yours! Here’s hoping that March brings some relief and sunshine!!

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  14. To me Theo is the perfect poster cat for February. He has his priorities straight. I wish you luck with your book project. It seems like a good way to pass the hours and create something meaningful in the process.

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  15. Ohh, what a fine job you’re doing with the book on your parents! ❀ Your father stole my glance, he appears to be quite a character. Funny and kind. Not unlike you in that. πŸ™‚ I wish you much joy with it in your waiting for spring. It's coming, I've seen it!

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  16. I love the photos from your book. That is truly a special gift to leave for your sons. Glad you’re feeling better and that you survived the fall which is never a good thing. I enjoy painting with stencils, I just can’t paint with water colors like you do. It’s good that you made the most of old man winter’s fierce month of February.

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    • I don’t use water colours. I’ve been told they are the hardest paint to work with. For my ‘dabbling’ stuff, I use acrylics and for the work I do in art class, I use oils.
      I love working with oils (although they take much longer to dry), but they are also a lot more expensive and I can’t justify the cost when I’m just ‘playing’ with ideas.

      I’m really enjoying playing with stencils. We are always just limited by our imagination. Thankfully there is google, youtube, and an endless number of books to stimulate that!!

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  17. Wow: winter exists on a whole different plane up there (speaking as a “snow is something you pay for at a ski resort” cissie).
    I’m glad you survived the icy tumble unscathed, and I think your book is a totally awesome way to spend winter days (when you’re not fighting Theo for the cuddly rug).

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    • The good news with rain is that you don’t have to shovel it, but the bottom line is that too much of anything is never appreciated. Well – except maybe for money … but I’d like to find out some day if that’s true πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    • The early long term forecast says we will be having an early spring with warm temperatures arriving around mid-March. I’m remaining optimistic that THIS time they haven’t screwed up πŸ˜‰

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  18. It has been a tough month, Joanne. I think our animals have the right idea – find a warm place, curl up and sleep. I read something today about some nasty cold coming down in early March, I hope they were wrong.

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  19. I’ve been watching the news on how the wind is pushing the frozen river onto the bank and bone-chilling cold. brrrrr….. On Friday, it will be March and soon enough, spring is here and we forget all about winter.

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    • I’ve seen it too and there are already worries about the flooding that will happen when all that ice melts.
      We are currently in the middle of another dumping of snow today. All I can say is – bring on spring πŸ™‚

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  20. It have been a very strange February in our neck of the woods too. Be careful with the ice – I cringe when I think of you falling, Joanne. Watch that head of yours. πŸ™‚ And a book! Yes, it’s slow work, but worth it. What a lovely way to pass the cold windy snowy days. ❀

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  21. Thank you Joanne! You gave a good view of your weather here – no wonder that you described the wind in the last storm we had to a T. The thing is that California is not even supposed to have a winter!! Sometimes, I wish the weather was a person who I could write they’re making a mistake here, and to fix it!
    Love that you have prepared a manuscript about your parents:) Now, a autobiography of yourself is the next (am great in giving other people tasks they did not ask for, haha).

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    • Don’t laugh – I have considered it πŸ™‚ Perhaps some day when I’m (really) old.

      The winds have been something else. This last one a few days ago damaged our roof – again – for the 3rd time in the past year 😑

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    • The sad part is that I actually don’t mind winter. I love the seasons, all of them. It’s just winter is sooooo long.

      If I knew that I could flip a switch on March 1st and spring would start, I’d be a happy camper.
      But I’m sure Minnesota and Chicago are like here – there’s still a lot of winter to get through after March 1st πŸ˜•

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Even for someone who enjoys winter, I have to say this one has been a pain in my keester! The ice does not make for fun outside, unless you like ice skating of course, which I do, just not on the ski hills. Hmmmm, maybe I am on to a new sportπŸ˜„

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    • My first thought was of challenging an icy downhill ski course on skates 🀣 My mind doesn’t always drift into practical territory!

      I actually love all the seasons, including winter. There’s just that there’s too much of it … and it’s an easy target to whine about πŸ˜‰ On the other hand, it does give some quiet time to think and plan.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. We here in northern California are being hit by an atmospheric river – several towns just north of us and being evacuated as rivers are overflowing their banks! March appears to be coming in like a lion! That video reminds me of Dr. Zhivago!

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  24. It hasn’t been as cold here as where you are, but it’s still been unseasonable. Thus far we’ve only had two days this month that reached 60F. Most days have only been in the 40s. And we’ve had nearly 5 inches of rain, when we usually get less than an inch in February. Plus we’ve had some fairly uncommon snowfalls. I guess the whole continent has taken a big hit from Old Man Winter. Let’s hope March works out better.

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    • I’ve got my fingers crossed for March. If you can believe the weather forecasters, our long range says we’ll have another couple of weeks of rough weather ahead, but an early spring this year. If it happens, it will be a welcome relief from the past couple of years when winter seemed to hang on into May.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna. I felt an obligation to my parents to tell their story. We tend to think of our parents and grandparents as only old people – not that they too were once young full of hopes and dreams. Unless we tell the stories of these ordinary people, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will never really know them. That’s what I’m hoping to achieve in some small way – to take their photos out of old forgotten albums (and shoeboxes) and put them in perspective.

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    • Thanks Anabel. The book is coming along slowly, but I’m happy with it so far. Maybe I’ll be the only one who will care in the end, but hopefully one day a grandchild or great-grandchild will pick it up and it will be deeply meaningful to them.

      … and yes, more often than not, we end up ‘sharing’ the blanket ie – Theo sleeps with me πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I really can’t wait until winter is over. Although it would have been a Kodak moment I’m glad all you bruised was your ego with the fall into the puddle Joanne πŸ™‚

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  26. I tried to bring back good weather with me, I really did! After this weekend, I am happy to go back to Barbados and try once again to bring the sun and the heat with me on the return trip. πŸ™‚

    Sounds like you made lemonade from the lemon of the month that is February, though Joanne!
    I’ve not heard of Mixbook – looks interesting, and love what you are doing with it.

    Deb

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    • Whenever I think about complaining about the weather, I go on FB to look at photos from my home town. At least we’ve been having thaws between snow storms. Up north, they haven’t, and the amount of snow they have is something I’ve never seen before. Yikes!

      There are many online photo book apps. It’s a bit of a rabbit hole. When I sit down and work on it, time seems to disappear and I keep thinking of new ways to use it 😏

      Going away in February is good news and bad news. You get a break from winter, but then there is still SO MUCH of it left when you get back 😏

      Liked by 1 person

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