January Joy?

January and I have never been the best of friends.

Or winter either, as it turns out.

I was grumpy when I read the other day that my home state of Minnesota has just won first prize for having the most miserable winters. http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/01/04/uff-da-minnesota-ranks-no-1-on-most-miserable-winter-list/

But it wasn’t exactly a surprise and I didn’t need the reminder as I was about to start my third miserable commute of the week, and it was only Wednesday.

Once I arrived at the local skating rink called a freeway, I knew I needed to de-stress some.

I started by turning off Trump’s press conference on the radio in favor of classical music for a while.

Well, actually any music I could find.

I figured if I wanted to hear anger and frustration I could simply listen to the cranky drivers honking around me.

Still feeling restless an hour later, I thought I’d best compose a January mantra to chant during the rest of my prolonged commute:

“I’m thankful each night for those two frozen pumpkins glued next to my old storm door. These orange stoppers keep that door from blowing in the wind, allowing the dogs and me to snore away in heavenly peace.”

“I’m thankful for those dogs. They make for wonderful foot warmers at home and my pack takes their task seriously.”

“And I’m very thankful for my new calendar. It shows the month of January’s almost half over.”

I’m calling that progress.

That’s more than I can say for the roads, however.

Seeing the light before dark

It was already starting to get dark. I knew I’d be too late hitting the road to travel from the city to the farm to take photos before dusk. Drivers were already irritating me in bumper to bumper traffic, and I hadn’t even freed myself at that point from downtown gridlock.

I get angry with commuters who don’t use turns signals, drivers who sit on my tail pipe, and honkers who lay on their horns mercilessly.

But my strongest bias is against uncaring, distracted drivers who carry on conversations using cell phones in cars. Often with flailing arms and hands in the air, as if to make a point to someone whose’s not even there.

I saw one of these uncaring women tonight as we finally made headway up the freeway ramp. I was livid as I saw the phone in her right hand as she squawked away like a parrot. Her left hand was gesturing wildly. I was about ready to do something far from polite myself.

But suddenly I saw a man. A bundled up beggar with a sign. The woman was inviting him over to hand him money for a warm dinner before it was too late.

I did the same.

Then left my bias at the curb.