Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, May 29, 2006

Today should have been a rest day!

A three-day weekend at this time of year means three days of riding. Why? Because we're on the border between spring and summer, because the weather supports playing outdoors, and because riding makes me happy.

The sky was gray when I left home, and there apparently was the possibility of water coming from the sky - so I opted for riding interconnected shorter loops rather than a long out and back type of ride. I knew that way I could have a quicker escape if I needed to get out of the rain. As it turned out, it didn't rain - but my shorter loops almost got the better of me. My goal for today was a 40 mile ride (give or take a few miles). I remember looking at my computer at 17 miles and thinking that I was done. No, I really wasn't done, and I wasn't about to head home that early. Luckily, that "I'm done" feeling dissipated, and I rolled home right at the 40-mile mark.

It was a good riding weekend, but I really need to remember to take a rest day in the week leading up to a 3-day weekend. I know better! Next time...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The ocean at my side...

Ah, the middle day of a 3-day weekend, and I woke this morning to find that the skies were blue and crystal clear. It seemed like a good day to ride by the coast. (Yes, of course, the same New Hampshire coast that I rode along on my quick escape early in May.) I have to admit that I prefer the quietness of the off season, but it was a good destination for today.

My first stop was just before Hampton Beach. I looked to the left just before I started riding up the bridge, and there was a rider standing next to a penny farthing. Amazing. Of course I had to stop to talk with him. The bike was in beautiful shape, and its owner clearly enjoys it. He told me that of the 4000 miles that he rode last year, 800 miles were on the penny farthing. We probably stood talking for at least 20 minutes, and in that time no one else stopped. That surprised me, although I'm not sure why. It just seemed natural to me to stop and say hello.

It was a day of riding and stopping, heeding the call of my camera.

It was also a day for visiting the two mute swans who seem to live in one of the ponds (or maybe I should call it a combination pond and swampy area) on the west side of the road. As I was headed north, I looked across and I could see what I thought were the mute swans on the far side of the water - much too far to see anything other than a couple of white spots. I sent a message winging across the water to them in the hopes of seeing them on my way back. And guess what - they must have received my message because as I was heading south, coming close to "their" water, I could see both of them standing on the side of the road. I quickly stopped short of the birds - after all, it's their space, not mine - and pulled out my camera. I stood there for quite a while, watching, and taking pictures. And again, I was very surprised that people just kept driving by. There was one couple on a motorcycle who stopped and watched the birds, but no one else stopped. I wonder if my habit of traveling by bike makes me more conscious of the things around me. Actually, I think it's probably the other way around - that I enjoy traveling by bike because I like to soak in my surroundings.

A beautiful day for a ride, and a beautiful day for playing with my camera...

Interesting bike - although I can't quite imagine myself riding one of these.

And yes, I did suggest that he switch his hat for a helmet. Although he agreed with me, I suspect he'll keep wearing his hat. It is more in keeping with the time period of the bike. Personally, I'd opt for a modern bicycle helmet.

An interesting spot to dig a hole... although turning your back on the ocean doesn't seem like the right thing to do, this is a pretty quiet area and this little girl's connection to the water was pretty much her own.

These birds are really big.

I checked, and apparently their typical length is between 55 and 62 inches. And I suspect the length is the distance between tail and head. When I "met" them outside of the water, it seemed that the bigger of the two birds came up to my shoulder.

One of the birds seemed to paddle with one foot in the water and one foot out of the water. Not a problem with its feet because both birds quite happily walked along the shoreline on both feet - it just seemed to be a swimming idiosyncracy.

More pictures from today can be found in my photo gallery at

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Changing skies, rolling wheels

Today's forecast was for a wet day, but luckily for my biking desires, the forecast was not to be. I woke to a sky studded with clouds, but the ground was dry. I was hoping for at least a short end-of-the-day ride, but the weather wizard cooperated and I managed a decent ride... a good start to a long weekend.

A somewhat cloudy start to my ride. Should I believe the white clouds or the darker sections?

I wandered past the truck blocking the road to see what it was hiding. Actually, there were two trucks, one blocking the road on each side of this hole, a remnant from those very rainy days we had two weeks ago. Scary.

Lucky for me, the rain that touched these daisies was gone by the time I rode by!

Friday, May 26, 2006


Getting caught by that rainstorm last week made me be a bit too cautious this week. I listened to the forecast calling for 30% chance of rain in the afternoon and chose not to ride my bike to work this week. I still managed two after-work rides; as it turned out I could have commuted on those two days since in spite of (because of?) the forecast both days were dry.

Today? Well today I was just plain lucky. The forecast was for rain starting during the afternoon. I believed that, and I figured I wouldn't ride. But it was still dry when I left work. Home, time to get ready. Pump up the bicycle tires, change clothes, and head out. Almost! I was rolling the bike outside when the sky darkened and it started raining.

It was a good day for walking.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A goose visit!

Another after lunch walk, another visit with the geese and their babies! After seeing how quickly the babies are growing (from yesterday's quick walk), I decided that I needed to walk with my camera today. And I was rewarded with some funny geese antics...

Mom & dad & babies, getting ready to tromp onto the grass

Wait, I need to dry my wings first!

My turn, my turn! Time to shake some of that water off of my back.

There are more pictures of this family of geese, starting on page 6 of my Spring 2006 photo gallery. The pictures on page 6 were taken on May 16th, and the pictures (starting) toward the bottom of page 7 were taken today. It's amazing how much the baby geese have grown in just over a week. (And yes, I do believe this is the same set of geese! There are only 2 pairs that I've seen in this area with babies, one pair with 5 babies - the target of my camera on both days - and one with 4 babies. That pair was hiding today!)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Changing skies

I woke this morning to a clear blue sky, but light gray clouds took over by the end of the morning. As I rolled by a pond (on my bike), I looked to the north and saw that the clouds above the pond had formed ridges. Beautiful.

A little further down the road, the sprinkles started. Heavier, time to don my rain jacket. Luckily, the rain turned back to sprinkles, and then disappeared. Home, relaxing. The sky is getting darker, and it's no where near the time of sunset. Rain. Heavy rain. And now - the sky has cleared, and the sun is shining once again. A quick walk outside. The temperature has really (noticeably) dropped. A short time later, the sky started to get dark once again. Crack! What was that? Very loud thunder. And it's raining once again...

Friday, May 19, 2006

...crash, Boom!

Rain again... It was a very gray and wet day when I arrived at work this morning. It was still early - before 8 o'clock - and I happened to turn from my desk to peer out of the window. The sky was changing from gray to very black.

...crash, Boom! Ah, heavy rain once again - this time accompanied by thunder and lightening. Wow - there's a lot of water out there again!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

An unintended mystery ride

Today would have been a better choice of a day to ride to work, but seeing the future (the weather at the end of the day) is not in my skill set. So today's ride was an after-work wander.

I started out, planning to ride a loop that includes some quiet wooded roads that skirt Harold Parker State Forest. On my way... ah, there is water across the road. But it's not too deep, so my bike and I rode through it. There were a couple of these shallow and small puddles, and then there was a big one. Nope, not riding (or walking!) through that one - it looks deep! I could have turned back at that point, but instead I took a left turn right before that road-hiding lake. I was lucky; I had to cross a few more smallish puddles across the road, but there weren't any more large ones. My ride was a little shorter than planned - only 20 miles - but still enjoyable.

Here's hoping that the water covering the roads has receded by the weekend!

Nope, not riding through this one!

Ah, this dry road surface is much preferred over riding through that very large puddle.

An amazing play of light with the sun streaming from behind a cloud

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ride your bike to work!

It’s National Ride Your Bike to Work week, and I was determined - or maybe I should say hoping (due to the crazy wet weather we've been having) - to ride my bike to work at least one day this week.

The last time I managed a ride to work during National Ride Your Bike to Work week was my fateful ride two years ago. And no, I absolutely do not want to repeat that ride. Last year the weather prevented me from riding. This year I thought the weather was again going to get the upper hand. But it didn’t.

Wednesday morning... Alarm going off. Oh, I’d like to sleep some more! Instead I jumped out of bed and looked out of the window. It was just before sunrise, still dark but with a lightening sky. It was light enough for me to see that while the ground was still wet, it was starting to dry. And there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It’s a riding day. Happy.

Temperature-wise, it was still a little cool. But that was easily solved with knee warmers and a windbreaker. And it’s supposed to be in the 70s by the time I ride home. Wet roads... dirt kicking up off of the road and sticking to my bike. And yes, I did do a quick cleaning job at the end of my ride. I just couldn’t leave the bike sporting that layer of mud!

It was a good early morning ride. At work, I just needed to hope that the 20% chance of rain for the late afternoon didn’t turn into a wet reality. And I needed to hope that the predicted wind would be helpful rather than a hindrance. The forecast was calling for a west wind between 10 and 14 mph with gusts as high as 26 mph. Since my ride home is to the north and east, the wind definitely didn't get in my way!

The nice blue sky started to be obscured by clouds around noon. And by 1 o'clock, everyone was telling me it was going to rain. Tell me it isn't so! The gray lifted by later in the afternoon, and while the clouds remained it didn't look as threatening. I headed for home without my extra layers, but I made sure that my jacket was easily accessible.

Dry, dry, wet! It started sprinkling when I was about six miles from home. Just sprinkles, no need to stop. Oh, the rain is starting to increase. OK, time for my jacket. Wait - now it's raining steadily... And that steady rain kept up for quite a while. It stopped about a mile from the end of my ride. Ah, home! My first task was to clean and re-lube my bike (she would have complained loudly if she wasn't taken care of as soon as we arrived home). Then it was time for my own shower. My nice yellow jacket had a muddy stripe down the back from the road dirt kicked up by my tires, so a load of laundry was in order too.

Yes, it was a messy ride home - but I'm glad I was able to ride my bike to work today!

Word wonders


There are times when the source of words becomes a curiosity that must be satisfied. For some reason, today's word was oxymoron. One of my colleagues pulled up the source (thanks to wikipedia). It's from the Greek:

oxys "sharp" + moros "stupid"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Waiting out the rain, visiting geese

Today started again as a dark and wet day, but the wet portions were separated by oases of dry. I planned to take a quick walk after lunch, accompanied by my camera. But after lunch came an absolute downpour.

Waiting, working... Luckily my desk is by a window so I can see when the weather changes. Things started to dry out, and I headed out around 2. The ground was still very wet, but there was no more rain coming from the sky; it was time to visit the baby geese. It was a good case of my quick walk bringing a smile to my face.

It was still dry after work, so I decided to head home (with the hopes of riding my bike) instead of going to the gym. Wouldn't you know that within 5 minutes of getting home, the weather wizard intervened and it started to absolutely pour. Ah, no riding today. I thought about walking in the rain, but somehow that didn't really appeal to me either. Waiting, waiting... At 6:30 the rain stopped and the sky cleared. Hey, what’s that blue up there. And sunshine! Now it's time to walk.

A family outing, munching grass & heading toward the water...

Baby geese! There appear to be 5 babies in this family of 7.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A walk in the rain

There was a lull in the rain earlier this afternoon. It didn't stop, but the deluge lessened to a lighter rainfall. Ah, it's time to get out for a walk.

I dressed in warm layers, preparing for a wet walk, a cool walk. The temperature was just 45 degrees, and there was enough wind present to drive the real temperature to lower levels. And I added an umbrella to my walking attire; nothing like a fast walk sheltered by an umbrella! My feet stayed surprisingly dry for most of my walk considering the amount of water out there. Relatively dry feet lasted until about 10 minutes before I got home. That's when I crossed a street in a nearby neighborhood where the road surface had turned into a bit of a river.

I've been checking the public information statements on the National Weather Service web site; according to a weather spotter, my home town had received a total of 10.5 inches of rain as of 3:20 PM. Wow. That's a lot of water. And the forecast calls for another 1 to 2 inches of rain overnight.

Hey weather wizard! Isn't this enough for now?

Water, water, everywhere!

It's still raining, and raining steadily. As of 6:35 last night the town I live in has recorded 4.58 inches of rain, and the weather prediction for today shows no end in sight. (... and I wonder how much water was added to that total during the overnight hours.) The forecast? It's calling for 2 to 3 inches of rain today, 1 to 2 inches overnight tonight, and much smaller amounts leading into the work week.

I posted a letter to the weather wizard yesterday in the women's cycling forum that I participate in. That didn't seem to help - in fact today's forecast is for even more rain (than was predicted yesterday). Maybe the weather wizard will pay more attention if I post it here too...

An open letter to the weather wizard

Really weather wizard, don't you think this is enough?

You provided nice weather last weekend so my bike and I could escape together for the weekend - but we haven't seen the sun since last Sunday. And I did thank you for that weather, didn't I?

But now, you're keeping me - and I'd bet all of the other (cycling) women in this area - inside. Riding in a little bit of drizzle is fine, but that is some serious rainfall out there. And the National Weather Service forecast suggests that we will get between 2 and 3 inches of rain today with another 1 to 2 inches tonight. I know that it's been pretty dry around here, but do you really have to try to replace all of that water at one time?

Oh, you're trying to help us by scheduling rest days for us? Well, to be honest, multiple rest days in a row are really a bit of overkill; I'd rather let my body decide when it needs to rest. OK, occasional help from you is acceptable, but not this much.

Here's my wish... can't you let the rain escape overnight and let us have dry weather during the day? Then I'll be happy, my bikes will be happy, the other people in this area will be happy.

Please weather wizard, can you help?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's raining, it's pouring

Unless the weather wizard surprises me by flipping the current forecast on its head, it looks like this will be the first week since February 6th that I haven't been out on my bike. My decision to go for a quick tour last weekend was clearly a good one; I was able to take advantage of the clear, cool, and dry weather conditions that have now totally disappeared.

The forecast? It's been raining steadily since some time last night. The National Weather Service forecast currently calls for a possibility of 1 to 2 inches of rain today, 1 to 2 inches of rain overnights, and another 1 to 2 inches of rain tomorrow. That's a lot of water! And the long term forecast includes rain every day between now and next Friday. Of course that doesn't say that Saturday will be dry - the public forecast only goes through Friday!

No, this really isn't supposed to be a lake. Believe it or not, this is the driveway and the lawn as you enter my condo complex.

Another view of the grass as I peer out from under my umbrella

Friday, May 12, 2006

Baby geese!

A mid-afternoon walk as an escape valve, a little bit of relaxation during my work day...

As I walked through the parking lot of a nearby office building, I saw two Canada Geese just standing. I've seen geese in pairs quite a bit recently, but they are usually closer to water or grass, eating. I looked again. One goose was looking outwards, in apparent guard mode. The other was intently looking at the grassy patch. Oh look! There are 5 or 6 babies clumped together, resting.

I passed the same spot on my way back, and this time the babies were happily walking on the grass, snacking.

A beautiful sight, a true sign of spring...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Little, bright, yellow...

My back is to the window as I talk to my computer (at work), but simply swirling my chair allows me to look out of the window. The prize for today was seeing a bright yellow goldfinch sitting on the (outside) window sill, appearing to look in the window. Was he looking in the window, wondering what we are doing inside? Or was he looking at his own reflection in the glass? Either way, he was beautiful.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A mouse in the house!

...luckily, not in my house

Early afternoon, quiet. And then one of my colleagues jumped up from his desk... he had been hearing a noise for a while. Initially he assumed the light background noise was coming from someone in the next cubicle and tuned it out. The noise continued though. He turned his head and saw a little mouse, sitting on his desk, on top of a stapler. The mouse was happily munching potato chips from an open bag on the desk. Well, the little rascal was accessing those chips through a hole of his own creation in the bottom of the bag, not from the top (human-made) opening.

Funny. And of course a moment sans camera. Too bad...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A taste of summer...

...on a wet and gray spring day

Ah, blueberries! I added strawberries back to my everyday diet quite a while back - as soon as they started showing up in one-quart containers for a relatively decent price. But blueberries seem to be more of a summer treat. Today I decided to treat myself to some fresh blueberries regardless of price. It was a good decision since my usual grocery store had a blueberry special, two (tiny) containers for the price of one. The price? $3.99, which is pretty outrageous for a 1/2 pint but is almost acceptable for two of them given that it's no where near blueberry season!

Blueberries atop a dish of chocolate fudge brownie frozen yogurt. A double treat...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

To Maine, by bicycle

What a nice change of pace... This time of year I typically spend time on my bike on both weekend days, assuming that the weather cooperates. Of course, that often means that I'm riding the same roads that I always ride. That's OK most of the time - there are some pretty nice rides heading out from home - but...

I felt like I wanted a change of pace - and the weather forecast was definitely forming and driving my plans. What would it take to pull off a two-day getaway? Early in the week it looked like the weekend would bring one good riding day and one day of rain. But as the days inched closer to the weekend, the forecast became more favorable. There was still a 30% chance of rain predicted for Saturday, but I decided to go with the 70% chance that it would be dry. Yesterday, I headed out on a (loaded) bike. I rode to Kittery, Maine, stayed overnight in a wonderful B&B, and rode home again today.

If you're interested in my memories of my short trip, click to read my biking journal.

And my photo gallery - which does have some overlap with my journal but which also has quite a few additional pictures - can be accessed at

This was the first time I've done a short weekend tour, but I don't think it will be the last!

This cormorant very nicely continued to pose as I rolled up on my bike, leaned it against a post, pulled out my camera, and started snapping away. Nice.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A commuting milestone

Yes, you're right - today was my first commute-to-work-by-bicycle of the season. It's the earliest I've ever managed this ride. In fact, I checked my log from last year to find the first day the weather allowed we to commute was on June 1st. I guess that's a pretty strong statement about our spring weather!

Today didn't feel like spring though; the afternoon had the feel of a beautiful summer day. Yes, the morning was cool and required both knee warmers and a wind jacket. But the afternoon supported a ride wearing shorts (without knee warmers) and a sleeveless jersey. Wonderful.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Measurements in what system?

...easy conversions via Google!

Converting miles to kilometers and back again has been something that is relatively easy for me, but some of the other weights and measures aren't as close to second nature. While I know that converting to the metric system is a big deal, I still wonder why we've stuck with the old system. I remember talking to some folks about the conversion when I was in Prince Edward Island last year. Whenever I asked how far someplace was, I got different types of answers depending on the age of the person I was talking to. People my age often gave the answer in miles although Canada has used the metric system since 1970. And young people (as in people in their 20s) tended to tell me how long it took to get to a place in a car as opposed to telling me how many kilometers away it was.

I was fascinated to find out that Google is a ready source of conversions. While I've been using Google to search for things for what seems like forever, it never occurred to me to ask it to do conversions. In addition to searching, typing something like "110 pounds to kilograms" or "20 degrees celsius to fahrenheit" or "29 kilometers to miles" gives the answer to the conversion in addition to supplying the normal search results. Nice.