After a holiday hiatus, I find myself back in the normal routine. Back to columns, back to a full week of work and soon, back to an empty nest.
I'm always surprised at how dark and empty the "Christmas tree corner" of my living room appears after the tree has been taken down.
Likewise, I'm always shocked at how long a holiday-less week can seem.
I know too, that after this week, our house will seem quieter than ever as our son heads back to college after a month-long break.
There are positives to this, of course.
My grocery bill will go down.
The number of loads of laundry will dramatically drop.
But, like a leaky balloon, a bit of the fun will seep out of our home when he packs up his bags and heads back for the spring semester. It puts the exclamation point on the sentence "The holidays are over!"
In January, and February, you have to work a little harder to find the fun. Days are short, and dark, and cold. Daydreaming over brochures for exotic getaways takes the place of holiday shopping.
And, for this basketball fan, March Madness, the beacon at the end of the long winter, seems mighty far away.
Luckily, there are lots of events planned for the area to make it easier to survive the dark months of January and February.
We have the 4-H Find Out Day, this Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Southpark Mall, from 12:30 - 2 p.m. Young and old will enjoy the displays and information about 4-H. If you think you know everything about 4-H, be prepared to be surprised!
Auditions are going on tonight for the Spencer Community Theater's production of "Hello, Dolly!". Getting involved in local theater, behind the scenes or on the stage, could warm up the coldest winter.
Dream of a refreshed and rejuvenated home, as the 10th annual Northwest Iowa Home and Builders Show hits the Clay County Regional Event Center, Friday through Sunday. Get ideas, get inspired, get going on your dream home.
And, if you can't beat the cold, you may as well enjoy it. The Palo Alto County Conservation Board is sponsoring a cross-country ski program Saturday at 1 p.m. on the trails at Lost Island Huston Park north of Ruthven. Participants will meet at Lost Island Nature Center. Call 712-837-4866 to reserve a pair of skis or to join the fun with your own.
While it's tempting to join the bears and hibernate through the cold winter days, it's a lot more fun to embrace the season, and find the fun in the frosty weather.