Snow Covered Boughs

One of the delights of winter — even for a hater of cold weather like myself — are scenes of snow covered boughs. A couple days ago we had enough snow, enough humidity and just the right overnight conditions to set snow on the branches and then freeze it so that it would stay like that for a few days.

What better excuse would we have for a little drive around town?

Most of these shots are taken at Whitnal Park, part of the Milwaukee County Park System.

It’s not quite the season for “winter wonderland” but still…. it’s lovely don’t you think?

I have to say without fear of equivocation that one thing about Wisconsin is that you don’t have far to go to find beautiful scenery.  No matter the season, there are sights worth getting the camera out for — or at least the iPhone!

For us confirmed Midwesterners this is home.  We had a blast wandering around the countryside but there’s no place like home.


Old Diary

Snow Reconceptualized

It was only an inch of snow or so, but I had a brainstorm while I was out there clearing it.  I realized the basis for my snow bias.


My family make fun of my pseudo negative feelings about cold weather and the snow, but I realized while I was out there getting snow blown into my face, trudging behind that noisy 8 horsepower pile of iron that I have probably spent more time out in the cold that some of the people who say they enjoy it.  I’m gloating.  Or maybe I’m shivering.

Some people here in Milwaukee have 28 foot lots.  Their entire world of real estate is only 28 feet wide.  That’s the length of their sidewalk.  Many have garages that enter out onto an alleyway behind their house.  So they have 8 or 16 feet of driveway to shovel.

I have never been so lucky!

Don’t get me wrong — I have always chosen to live where I do — but we have never lived on a small property.

11275Ramsey06040264Right now I have 150′ of public sidewalk, and 40′ of walkway to get to the door.  That’s not counting the parking lot for about 6 cars.  Before regrading and repaving we used to have 7000 sq ft of parking lot.  Now it’s only about 3000 sq ft.

When we had the 12 family apartment we had a 16 car parking lot. In those days when it snowed I could count on a good 4 hours of “fun” blowing the snow off that 16 car parking lot and another 230′ feet of sidewalk.

When we lived in West Allis we had to go and buy a corner lot — so that even though we only had a two car garage and a 25′ long driveway — I still had about 150′ of sidewalk to shovel.  Or snow blow.

This has been going on for 40 years.  And this is what I normally look like when I’m outside having fun!

No.  I don’t need to think up reasons to go outside to play in the snow, I have enough of them already.  On a day with more than an inch or two of accumulation I can easily spend 3 hours outdoors shoveling and blowing.  Nowadays I use a mask to protect my face a bit.  And having shaven off my beard last fall the need for that is even more evident.

I guess I shouldn’t be negative about the snow.  I spend enough time in it.  Not entirely by choice, but I do choose where I live.

Suffice it to say that once we get this school sold, and get out there and get mobile in Journey that I’m not going to spend much (if any) time where there’s white stuff on the ground which isn’t sand and isn’t adjacent to nice warm water.  And should we ever get tired of roaming around the country (which I hope we don’t) you can rest assured that our next (if ever) brick and mortar home will be one with no shoveling.

Old Diary

Hooray For the Balaclava!

I might take up bank robbery! Can’t you just see me in surveillance footage?

Our first actual snowfall of the season has happened and been blown away.  All I can say is “I am happy for my new balaclava,” bought recently because of the onset of winter.  Our first snow is not to be confused with the significant storm we had a week ago which slogged everyone North and West of us in Wisconsin.  We, however, got away with scarcely a dusting of snow on top of a lot of rain.  We were happy; others were not.

20121229170914001Today’s entry is all about the side effects of downsizing.  I HAD a really nice knitted ski mask that I have used for snow blowing for donkey’s years: an orange ski mask that did a good job of keeping my face from freezing while blowing snow across that big parking lot.  Why we never own homes with small lots and little snowplowing I’ll never know.  We seem to have this love for corner lots and large lots. Oh well.

At least in this one — I’m not quite as conspicuous. 🙂

I must say that the sight of me shopping in a sporting goods store is a rare sight indeed.  I’m one of those “I don’t shop, I buy” guys.  Specially when it comes to cold weather stuff.  I know what I want, I go into the store, directly to the proper department, find what I want and get the heck out of there before some ancient chromosomes kick and I begin reverting to my vestigial Outdoorsman.

I had hoped never to own cold weather gear again.  And hopefully never to have to snowblow again.  Alas that was not to be because when we held our estate sale we thought the house was sold.  So much for counting unhatched chickens.

So, I like the new one.  I hope I hardly ever have to wear it.  And I look forward to the day in the hopefully near future that I can donate it to the Goodwill!

Old Diary

Snowed-In Mobility, Violin Recitals, and 44 Years Together


We’re in the middle of the season’s first snowfall and for the moment (maybe all day) I intend on engaging in whole-hearted denial. In honor my determination to ignore the snow and ice I offer you this pleasant summer’s even shot from the Opera Neighborhood of Paris.  It was about quarter past seven in the evening; the streets were humming with activity and a more glorious summer’s eve you couldn’t ask for.  It was NOT 20 some degrees. Nor was the snow flying.  Nor were cars slipping and sliding on slippery roads.  And neither was there a stiff wind blowing while the snowblower blew snow back into your face.

I know it’s not going to do any good but I’m in a good mood today — it’s our 44th wedding anniversary today — and I refuse to be bummed.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together for 44 years.  I mean it’s REALLY hard. But I do believe that momma nature is having a private joke.  I say that because 44 yrs ago it was doing the same thing it is right now.  SNOWING  

We were married in the home of a good friend.  Actually he had also been more sort-of employer.  When I left University I worked for birdseed for our church for all of $400.00 a month.  Not a lot of money, but I got free room and board and the use of an late early 60’s Ford Fairlane for my daily commute from Chicago Ridge to the near North Side of Chicago.


About 30 attended the home wedding officiated at by another good friend. After the ceremony we had a small reception at a near by restaurant — adjacent to the Glenview Naval Air Station.  As the reception progressed the weather got worse and worse until we finally decided to leave or own party early because I had planned on our spending our first night in Elkhart Indiana.

We made it there — through a pretty decent snowstorm. We got registered in the hotel and about 2 am we realized that the furnace in the room wasn’t working right.  Cold Room.  About 4 a.m. the plows started clearing out the parking lot.  Fortunately the rest of our marriage has been better than that first night.  But the next day we were in NYC and the rest of our honeymoon was delightful.


Today is also our grand daughter’s violin recital.  It seems that people in our family have a thing for scheduling events on snowy days.  Peg and I bought one of our cars on the coldest day of 1980-something — the same day her friend from work Donna got married and the temp dipped to -26 degrees.  A couple years ago Melanie’s violin recital was also on one of the snowiest days of the year.  The weather was so bad that half the performers showed up late and the recital did finally get going.


Tonight we’ll have a replay of that event I suspect.  We’ll see what the weather is like closer to the 7 p.m. start time.

I thought I’d leave you all with a shot of my sweetie — from some point two years after our marriage.  I’ve always loved this shot of her.  She’s sitting in our 1968 VW Beetle and she smiled a lot — actually she still does.

Anyway,  todays a good day.  Today’s a big day — not many people get to celebrate 44 yrs together; even fewer get to do with with people they still love.  We’ve got a lot to be thankful for.  And today is a good day to focus on all that is good in life — even if it’s storming like crazy outdoors.

Cheers, and talk to you tomorrow.

Old Diary

An Early Closure (not real estate)

Winter Cometh on Apace….

Right now all we’re getting is rain, since last evening.  Our high for tomorrow is only 34, so we could be getting the same things that the folks up in Wabasha MN are getting.  Snow.  Cold, fluffy, snow.  They’re looking for an accumulation of 6″-10″, right now we aren’t looking for any — and that’s the report of the weather service.  If I had my way we’d never get any more but than I am winter-phobic.

It seems early for snow closings, but I guess it isn’t.  This year I dont have as much on my mind as I usually do, so maybe it just SEEMS sooner.

Yet, life doesn’t stop and there are things to be done — in spite of the fact that I didn’t get many of them done TODAY! I’ve not been sleeping well; too many things on my mind I guess.  So last night I took some Tylenol PM.  I really oppose meds not specifically prescribed by my physician but after enough nights of poor sleep it’s time to do something about it.  The reason I comment on it is that whenever I take the stuff the next day I’m good for nothing.  It’s like my brain is on vacation.

So, when I looked in the corner where my desk sits and mentally tried to map out an alternative placement in the room we live in I had a (not so) bright idea (as it turns out).  I thought moving the desk to a different placement might work better.  But alas the desk is not an easy thing to move, and it is oversized making the move even more difficult. This desk was here when we moved in.  It’s 72 x 39 and all steel except for the writing surface which is something akin to linoleum I suspect — softer than ideal for a desktop because it indents quite easily with the shape of anything heavy laid upon it.

The two of us dragged the thing 20 feet.  We positioned it in various angles, alignments, and configurations (there being computer, graphic tablet, four hard drives, uninterruptible power source and desk lamp all involved.  No matter what we did, nothing fit right.  So, guess what…. We moved all that junk back to where it came from.  None the happier.  We talked over other places to put it.  We talked over other places to put our bed.  I packaged up a couple things that were cluttering the room.  But in the end, I’m right back where I started — still not awake.

Oh well….  Every day doesn’t have to see great progress.  I guess in this case, some days are just for relaxing.