Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: COLD!

Tina of Travels and Trifles lives in the South where they’ve had snow exactly twice in 20 years. A recent snowfall there prompted her to challenge us with the photo theme of COLD.

Honey, I live in Wisconsin. Have I got “COLD”? You bet!

Christmas Day 2013

Thank you, blog followers, for counting the days with me and considering the many gifts that we receive in life. 

May we be filled with gratitude;

may our gratitude transform our spirits;

may all beings be happy. 

From icy Milwaukee, I wish you peace!

christmas eve

And to close, I simply must share my favorite Flash Mob scene of all time, from the 1970 movie musical “Scrooge”.  I cry happy tears every time I see it and find myself dancing and singing along.  Please click on this link and Enjoy!  I was 8 years old when my father took me to see it in a theater.  When we emerged, a beautiful light snow was falling on the Chicago streets.  Years later, my youngest daughter was cast in a production of this delightful (and musically superb!) show, and Jim and I helped prepare the chorus in rehearsal.  I also got to conduct the band from the orchestra pit for every show, and it was one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve had.  Imagine me waving my arms enthusiastically, caught up in the joy of “Thank You Very Much”.  Thank you all for supporting my blogging efforts over the years.  Your company is a great privilege!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

What is Grand? My first thought was of grand opera, but I’ve got to agree with the WordPress folks.  There’s nothing that beats Mother Nature for being truly big and dramatic.  I love this planet!  I’m betting that there are going to be a lot of stunning photos posted.  As my second post of the morning, this one will be brief.  We’re gearing up for some wintry snowfall here in Wisconsin, but I gotta tell ya, it’s not going to be nearly as grand as what they get in California.  Here’s a shot I took in the month of April at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Gives new meaning to the line from the carol “Snow had fallen, snow on snow….in the bleak midwinter long ago.”


Advent Day #5 – Snow

Reblogging from 2 years ago with the rubric of a list of calendar gifts in lieu of Advent brings me to the topic of Snow.  Do you get snow in your part of the world?  I lived in California for 15 years without it.  I’ve lived in the Midwest for more than 30.  This year, Steve will be delivering mail throughout the winter.  He’s going to get out there 6 days a week in Milwaukee weather, whatever it may turn out to be.  This is real life!  I like that he’s not afraid to meet it face to face. 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Believe it or not, we had a green Christmas here in Milwaukee, and we STILL haven’t gotten snow.  I appreciated not worrying about my kids driving on the roads to visit me, and I’ve enjoyed going hiking in the warmer temperatures.  But I also enjoy snow hiking, even though I don’t own snowshoes.  The transformation of familiar objects and landscapes in winter is always interesting.  Without foliage, the contours of the land come out more strikingly.  With snowfall, they soften and blossom like ripe flesh.  We headed out to Lapham Peak yesterday in bright sunshine.  We discovered that they had created snow for some of their cross country ski trails.  Man-made, electricity-dependent snow.  Because this is Wisconsin, dammit, and we just can’t wait around for Mother Nature; winter break is NOW and it oughta be snowing already!  (sigh)  It’s sad to me that humans can’t slow down to fall in step with the planet.  We keep pushing it to keep abreast of us.  It’s like watching parents push their toddlers to be grown up by signing them up for language, dance and art lessons before they even hit nursery school.  It smells manipulative and inauthentic.  I am sniffing around in the other direction, trying to learn to open up to what exists.

The snow-making machine looks like a lunar landing module.

The boardwalk through the wetland has buckled and twisted in the process of freezing and thawing.  It reminds me of the changeable dynamic of a journey, a path in constant flux.  It tells me that my progress was not intended to be in a straight line, that meanders are natural and meaningful.  And that makes them interesting and challenging.  They invite me to adjust my balance, to pay attention, to dance with them.



I have no idea what is around the bend.  There’s a new year coming up, full of mystery and thrilling movement.  I am feeling less afraid and unsafe in this realization, and more eager to take the fun house walk.

Too Wise


Too wise you are, too wise you be; I see you are too wise for me.

Last night we had what the weather report called “Wintry Mix”.  It sounds like it should be a seasonal snack, perhaps cranberries, nuts, and chocolate, but it’s actually freezing rain and snow.  This morning, the sun was shining, the clouds had disappeared, and the light was dazzling.  I feel like anything that happens today is going to be amazing.  Which is a great way to feel going into a job interview.  I had an appointment to meet a brand new mom who is looking for help.  I sat across from her at the coffee shop looking into a young and exhausted face and remembered what it was like to be in that transition.  The anxiety, the lack of sleep, the hunger, the bewilderment, the change of pace, the suspension of norms, and the hope and excitement that this may actually be the greatest thing you can do with your life right now…which you too often forget.  I was ten years younger than she is when I was going through that transition.  I am now seventeen years older than she is.  I have no resume, I just have my experience, the wisdom and calm that has settled into the lines on my face and the rhythm of my breath and the desire to share that peace where I can.  Maybe this is a person who will find that useful.

Tomorrow I go to the opera and visit my baby in the big city.  I get to treat her to a birthday dinner and buy her a drink legally.  And maybe next week I’ll get to hold a newborn to my chest.  Life is precious.  I am grateful to be here.

Half Way

It occurs to me that I have reached the half way mark in my 50th year blogging project.  This is post #183; I’ve missed two days along the line somewhere, and I may yet miss another, so I probably won’t end up with a perfect 366 by August 20, but I’m calling today the half way point.  Whoo-hoo!  Time to check back on my original intent:

“So this blog is dubbed scillagrace to symbolize ancient elegance of manner, action, form, motion and moral strength.  It is my goal to post entries worthy of the name.  It is my goal to avoid being dogmatic and prissy.  I want to challenge myself to go deeper into subjects that explore the ancient grace of life.   It is a lot of name and a lot of subject, to be sure.  We’ll see how it goes.”

I have also realized that in the adventure of exploring the ancient grace of life, encounters with others are pivotal.  The challenge to go deeper is often voiced not by myself but by those whom I encounter.  The elegance of the dance is significantly effected by those who come alongside to partner me.  So I want to express my deep appreciation for all those who have participated in shaping this blog by liking it and leaving a signature that led me to meet them or commenting and entering into the dance directly.  I appreciate those who were strangers to me and those whom I’ve known in person for some time.   I have truly enjoyed, benefited, woken up, reeled, puzzled, thrilled, anguished, and grown here!  Thank you, one and all.

My gift to y’all today is to share the elegance of the world to which I woke this morning.  My little corner of the globe draped in February’s glory: snow.

Have a grace-filled day, all!

Squirrely Post

I have a rather social weekend lined up.  Tonight is our Chinese New Year celebration with Steve’s sister.  Tomorrow is the Lyric Opera (Die Zauberflote) with my youngest.  So, here’s a quick share…photos I took this morning as I watched my squirrel friend digging around in the fresh powder for the leftover popcorn I put out on his chair.

Sorry for the poor quality…the windows in the living room are pretty dirty!

More anon, good friends…..Happy Chinese New Year!

Winter in the Neighborhood

“Now is the winter of our discontent/ made glorious summer by this sun of York…”   – first line of Shakespeare’s play Richard III

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Why is winter associated with Macchiavellian plots?  (I have no answer.)

What do you call an icicle with two prongs?  A bicicle.

What do you get when you photograph a bicicle from inside a screened window?

Can you tell my mind is unfocused today?  Wander with me, if you like…

I’m not the type to rush outdoors and start shoveling in a snowfall.  I stay inside until it stops, and then I wait to see how much will melt off the driveway and sidewalks all by itself.  Often, someone else has already shoveled by the time I get out.  Not very Macchiavellian of me at all.

Squirrel tracks on the garage roof

Stone-faced, pondering, feeling the weight drip slowly down the back of my neck, one cold drop at a time. I’m moody today.