Friday is the last day of a month that most of us will be happy to bid a fond farewell to. January has mostly been endless days of fog and more fog, with an occasional clear, but cold and windy day, to help boost our spirits and renew our hope that spring and summer will eventually be here. Reading books received for Christmas gifts helped maintain our sanity, and keeping our New Year's resolutions to give away items no longer needed helped get us through those cold days and evenings. — Groundhog Day is right around the corner and we'll see what the weather prognosticators have to say about the possibilities of six more weeks of winter. In the Willamette Valley, we hope that we'll have rain instead of fog, along with occasional frosty mornings for the next six weeks, and then some. Even though we're beginning to see the first hints of springtime with tiny buds on the trees and the slightest bit of what will become daffodils and crocuses peeking out from the frozen ground, it's still a long time before we can relegate those heavy coats, warm gloves and wool hats to the back of the closet. — For those of us who don't have reservations on the next flight to a warm weather paradise or a cruise in the Greek Isles, MI Town has some good alternatives — and you don't have to have a passport or melt down the credit card. Our university and high school teams are in the midst of another busy winter sports season, and community support is always appreciated. Whether your choice is basketball, wrestling or swimming, it's fun to get together with friends and neighbors and forget about these dark winter days. — Monmouth Senior Center has a wonderful community breakfast scheduled Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. It's a great opportunity to meet your friends, bring your family, or both. Portions are generous and there are lots of friendly helpers to help you start your busy day. If you're looking for a unique gift or something special for yourself, the Crafters Corner is open during breakfast hours, too. — Have you stopped by either of MI Town's libraries this winter? There are programs for children, teens and adults during these wintry days. There's something so special about a trip to the library — and the opportunity to travel to faraway places without venturing farther than a comfy chair by the fireplace. Monmouth and Independence libraries are the greatest. — Let's all be hopeful that better weather days are ahead — and that if the groundhog does indeed see his shadow, we'll have lots of things to keep us busy and happy in MI Town.