Snow covering your front lawn might not be as deep as last year, and your energy bill might be less, but it's still winter.
It's still a month after Christmas and New Year's. It's still the time of gray skies and nasty expectations - the possibility of snow and sleet and ice at almost any time.
Keeping a clean house is admirable, but that gives you time to do something else once the last fleck of dust has been whisked away. This might be the perfect time to learn something new, to take a class and get the old brain juices flowing again.
-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
Jo Ann Mallinger, assistant manager at Hobby Lobby, arranges feathers and flowers at the store, which will offer classes on floral arrangements whenever possible. She said the store can offer classes only when someone offers to teach them.
There are any number of classes you can take, although you may have to find others to make a group large enough to start a class. Still, taking classes with friends might be the most fun you'll ever have.
Churches have classes for adult education all the time, so signing up for those is as easy as a quick check after Sunday services. Many churches like the idea of bringing friends and neighbors, so that, too, can be an activity for friends.
While they might not offer classes, there are any number of service groups that would like an influx of members - the Kiwanis Club, Rotary, Lions and Civitans - and you can always volunteer with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts or the Webster County 4-H program, where Linda Cline, youth coordinator, said membership is still open for youths. That means volunteers can start at the beginning of projects like aerospace, archery or the dog project. There are tons of other projects that can use help, said Cline, who may be reached at the Extension office, 576-2119.
Although the Blanden Memorial Art Museum doesn't offer adult classes now, it will offer classes this spring, so keep that in mind when you're planning something to do.
Quilt shops abound in the area, and every shop offers a variety of classes. At Mrs. T's Mercantile in Vincent, for example, a new Quilt Block of the Month class is at 6 p.m. Tuesday and continues on the first Tuesday of the month for six months. The best thing to do is to contact the shop nearest you or the shop you like best and see what's available there.
The Messenger will hold its annual Home and Garden Expo on March 11, 12 and 13 with lots of classes for the itching-to-be-at-it gardener. For example, Rick Lamoureux of Earl May Garden Center will speak on "Preparing for Spring."
Still, that's more than a month away. For those of you who want something to do now, there are lots of possibilities. It just depends on what you're interested in and how much fun you want to have.
Keep in mind, this list is by no means exclusive. Half the fun in doing something is digging out that something to do.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com
Hobby Lobby, 301 S. 29th St.
Jo Ann Mallinger, assistant store manager, said the store has offered classes in floral arrangement, knitting, jewelry-making, rubber- stamping, card-making, scrapbooking and Wilton cake decorating, which will be taught by Starla Brandt, of Webster City, on Feb. 9.
If a group of at least five or six people request a class, Mallinger said the store will find an instructor and offer the class.
Webster County Extension, Crossroads Mall.
A class on "The A-Z of Veggies" will be 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Webster County Extension office, 217 S. 25th St. That's an outside entrance on the southeast side of the Crossroads Mall.
The class will offer beginner gardening tips about home-grown vegetables. Information is available from Yvonne McCormick at 832-9597 or by e-mail at Yvonne@iastate.edu.
The same class will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hamilton County Extension in Webster City on Feb. 17, Humboldt County Extension in Humboldt on Feb. 22 and Wright County Extension in Clarion on Feb. 24.
Becker Florists, 1335 First Ave. N.
A free garden seminar will be 9 a.m. to noon March 5 in the Bioscience and Health Sciences building on the Iowa Central Community College campus, co-sponsored by the Fort Dodge Area Gardeners, Iowa State University Extension in Webster County and the Master Gardener program.
Here you might win a door prize.
Hollingsworth School of Dance and Gymnastics, 721 S. 25th St., 576-3279.
Adult ballet classes for men and women. Older students, too. Classes are 8 p.m. on Tuesday nights during the school year, and they could go into summer. Contact Sandy Hollingsworth.
Vicky's Dance Academy, 1375 350th St., Gowrie, 352-5476.
Aerobic exercise with a Latin-inspired fitness dance called Zumba. Classes starts in March. Contact Vicky Vinchattle.
Tres Amigos, 2007 Fifth Ave. So., 955-6555. David Rodarte.
Salsa dance lessons start at 9 p.m. every Thursday, with the merengue, bachata and hi-hop dances also taught.
Jill's Jazz Pizazz School of Dance, 501 Central Ave., 955-5322. Jill Sherman.
Adult tap dance lessons under way, 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Adults in class will participate in a dance recital May 21.
Fort Dodge Area Camera Club.
The club meets at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at Permanent Collection Gallery Art, 921 Central Ave., and often offer workshops.
At 7 p.m. on the third Thursday, there are art conversations, with a group of artists talking and giving demonstrations.
Both groups are open to new people, who may contact Roger Feldhans at (712) 830-5146.
Citizens Central, 617 Central Ave., 673-3429.
Free classes in painting are all day Mondays at the center. Anyone interested may stop in and talk to the instructor.
Exercise classes are held weekly. Anyone interested can attend twice, then if he or she decides to join, a user fee must be paid to the senior center. As a member, people can play bingo, use computers, play cards, among other activities available. Fee is $12 through June for anyone 55 and older.
Rich Bailie at 573-2054 may be contacted about beginning bridge lessons by the Fort Dodge Duplicate Bridge Club.
Fort Dodge Kennel Club.
Obedience classes for puppies 3-to 5 months old will be 6:30 p.m. Mondays beginning Feb. 14. On Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 16, there will be classes at 6:30 p.m. for small, younger dogs and at 7:35 p.m. for older or large-breed dogs. All dogs must have current vaccination records. Information is available from Loretta Nelson at 573-3020.
Anyone interested in a Saturday agility class may contact Nelson. If a group of five to 10 people are interested, that agility class will be scheduled.
Quilt shops continually offer classes. Shops in the area include:
Honey Barn, Goldfield.
Heartland Quilt Shop, Algona.
Seams To Me, Algona.
Towne Square Quilt Shoppe, Lake City.
Quilting on Main, Pocahontas.
Inspired by Time, Storm Lake.
The Stitch, Jefferson.
The Family Quilt Shop, Fort Dodge.
The Gingerbread House, Webster City.
Lee's Quilt Shed, Jolley.
Mrs. T's Mercantile, Vincent.
Webster County Conservation Board, Kennedy Park, 576-4258.
Free cross country skiing and snowshoeing lessons available 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 12 from the reception center at Kennedy Park and skiing lessons from 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 19 at the north campground of Brushy Creek State Recreation Area.
Skis and snowshoes are free to use within Kennedy Park or may be rented for $10 for adults on weekends. Kids' skis are free. Call ahead to make sure skis are available.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org