Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Romance of Snow: A Wisconsin Photo Essay

Is snow romantic?

Watching snow fall is romantic, especially if you can do so in a location like Starved Rock State Park's lodge by the giant fireplace.  Watching the snow fall lazily towards the river, as I did one November day, is lovely.  Starved Rock State Park. Click on Seasons  

The snow falling outside my window right now is very beautiful, since my view is entirely of my giant fir tree and the swirling snow.   And the snow on cedars -- my neighbor's favorite plant -- is picturesque.
Playing in the snow can be lots of fun.  Especially if you are in a beautiful environment, like a  Wisconsin State Park   or in Door County, Wisconsin or in  Crested Butte, Colorado

Shoveling snow, however, while undoubtedly excellent aerobic exercise, is a little different from the romantic vision of snow. 
A long way to go    

Here we see the driveway halfway done, but, turning around. . .still a way to go, including the dreaded end of the driveway "plow snow".  While it is illegal to put your snow in the street, the plow can and will put the plow snow in your driveway -- and it will be compacted and full of ice chunks -- the bane of all those who use shovels or snow blowers.
Plow Snow

Plow snow: the closeup
Half the sidewalk

Remember the part about good exercise?  It is that, and you are well advised to remember what they told you in gym class about lifting with your legs, and not your back.  It is also true that there are many kinds of snow.  Today's snow was not too wet and therefore not too heavy.  The heavy wet snow is called "heart attack snow" for a reason.  
Sidewalk done

 Here are the "after" pictures:

Just as it begins to snow again. . . . 

It is lovely to watch the snow fall, and the second round of snow was the lightweight snow that sparkles as it falls, the star of many a moonlight on snow photograph.  It did not take very long for me to remove those final two inches
 I know that we cannot afford another drought year, and that we need the snow.  It is beautiful, as it falls, and when it is newly on the ground.  It will be good for all those "playing in the snow" businesses in this tourism dependent state, and  I enjoyed spending a lot of the day outside, and enjoyed the exercise.  You have to think about something while you're shoveling, and taking pictures is a good reason for a little rest break, so I worked on this post as I worked in the snow.  

What does winter mean to you?  Here are a few additional thoughts on Winter from

Monday, January 21, 2013

Proud to be a Citizen of these United States

It made me cry, and it made me proud.  Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) quoted George Washington as saying the swearing in of the first President was not the test of the new county -- the swearing in of the second President would be.  We now have our 44th President and have completed our 57th Inauguration -- and we should be proud of our country and its structure as we move ahead, facing challenges and  looking for solutions  in our collective national life.

The ceremony was impressive, far more than the sum of its parts, showing the unity and diversity of our country.   As is appropriate for the occasion, it was the United States at its very best.

If you did not have an opportunity to watch the Inauguration live, watch the video, not the summaries.  If not the whole four hours, at least the speech.  I appreciated the President's speech -- especially its historical references -- and liked it better for its careful, understated nature.  It would be a pleasure to teach, because there are many important historical references that students would have to search for and figure out. 

Here is the Inaugural Poem by Richard Blanco:

And this was my favorite quote, (as illustrated and Tweeted by the White House) it is also picture 17 in the White House photostream here in the section "Your Voices at the Inauguration".

"With passion & dedication, let us answer the call of history & carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom" 

                         - -  Barack H. Obama, 2nd Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Every child ready to read

This video was part of the answer to a question I was asked today, and it gave me the opportunity to watch it again.  It was written and produced by my friend Faith, and it is a must see for all parents and library advocates.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters and big brothers and sisters, too!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

A new year;  a time for resolutions and thinking in images of newness -- like a blank book or an unfilled calendar.  2013.  Remember what a fuss was made about the new century?  And now we're well into its second decade.  A lot of challenges still ahead -- and a lot of ideas to explore.  One of my resolutions is to be a better (or at least, more frequent) blogger.

Happy New Year!

Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa