Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, June 30, 2006

A quiet riding week

In spite of it being the first full week of summer, a combination of needing a rest day after my weekend away and predicted (and some actual) rain later in the week prevented me from riding to work this week.

Yesterday afternoon looked promising for an after-work spin but the downpour that surprised me on the way home convinced me that the time wasn't right. It was a good day for walking... Today was another story. I allowed the forecast of a 30% chance of rain stop me from commuting by bike. It was a day that I should have believed the 70%. Bright sunshine and warmth called out to me as I arrived home after work, a good afternoon for a ride (accompanied by a camera, of course!).

Beautiful lavender blooms lit by late afternoon sunlight

Daisy-like flowers too. No, not daisies, but the name escapes me right now!

The rubber duck has babies!

Funny... I first noticed a rubber duck swimming in the reflecting pool on the Merrimack College campus about two weeks ago. It tickled my fancy then - but things have changed. I rambled through the campus earlier this afternoon, and I noticed that the rubber duck has multiplied. She now has babies!

My first visit with the rubber duck, back on June 15th.

And today, mama (rubber) duck with 4 babies! The babies don't seem to be too good at swimming yet...

...and look! Mama duck and two of the babies have hopped out of the pool for a rest.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

In hope of dry roads

I've been checking the weather, checking it again, and hoping when the forecast says 40% chance of rain that the 60% wins out!

I'm heading to Downeast Maine for a long weekend with my bicycle and my camera. My plans are for 3 days of riding and one day of visiting puffins. And rather than a spur-of-the-moment trip, I planned this one with a reservation to visit the puffins on Machias Seal Island, and with bed & breakfast reservations too. So, I'm leaving for Maine this afternoon, and I'm hoping to dodge some of the raindrops that inevitably will fall during my time there.

Luckily, the all day rains that are supposed to hit the Boston area over the weekend are not currently forecast to track that far north and east - so maybe I'll be lucky. And maybe not. But I'm going!
If you want to keep up with my biking and wandering this weekend, click to view my journal.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Solstice musings

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It's also referred to as the first day of summer.

Tell me, why is it that after the first day of summer the days start getting shorter, starting the march towards autumn? Why isn't this day known as the middle of the summer? Oh, look - it is also known as Midsummer in some places. That makes much more sense to me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Riding in spite of a severe thunderstorm watch

The forecast for today wasn't one to make my bicycles happy - it included a prediction of thunderstorms starting mid-afternoon, so driving to work seemed to be the right choice. By the time I arrived home in the early evening, there was a severe thunderstorm watch. Hmmm, probably not a good idea to ride tonight either.

What about a walk? Somehow dealing with wet walking shoes is less annoying to me than dealing with a wet and very dirty bicycle, since wet roads kick up grime that just sticks to the bike. I convinced myself to walk, but when I headed outside and looked at the cloudy sky that still sported some blue spots, I decided that my bike was calling me. A quick change into riding gear, and I was rolling down the road.

It was a good ride, loops within loops relatively close to home just in case the sky turned threatening. And the weather wizard was kind to me - my early evening wander was on totally dry roads. The rain came later...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunny, getting hotter...

It was still a reasonable temperature when my bike and I headed out this morning. The heat caught up with me though, and I was dripping wet by the time I rolled home.

I thought about riding along the coast today, dreaming that it might be a little cooler next to the ocean. I quickly changed my mind though when I looked at the weather forecast and saw that the New Hampshire coast was covered by an "Air Stagnation Advisory". Hmmm... heat plus unhealthy air quality. All of a sudden riding a (relatively) short loop near home sounded good to me. And after all, there was a ladybug waiting for me; I apparently needed to ride by her home!

This ladybug thought she would come along for the ride. And yes, she was trying to hang out on my sunglasses!

Actually, I'm pretty amazed that I was able to get this photo.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A mystery ride, an evening stroll

Ah, a mystery ride! I joined Robyn & Steve on a ride starting from their home in Concord and wandering through Carlisle, Westford, Chelmsford, and... well, I have to admit I really don't know what towns we passed through. It was a mystery ride for me, and sometimes for them too! Beautiful roads, warm, but with trees sheltering us from the sun.

Home again, relaxing, thinking about next weekend's (somewhat planned) quick escape to Downeast Maine. Time unfolded into early evening, and my feet decided to wander. A camera jumped into my hand as I walked out of the house...

Iris are beautiful flowers. I expect to see them in gardens, but this beauty was popping up in a wooded area - definitely not a garden. To my mind that makes the flower even more beautiful!

...not open yet, still a beautiful image

A weather switch

Earlier this week it was cool and very wet. The temperature started inching up yesterday - into the 80s, but still fairly comfortable. I just saw the forecast for tomorrow though:

Hey weather wizard - can we skip the high 90s? My request is for you to keep the temperature in the 70s; that would be perfect. And yes, I do realize that you're not listening!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Photographic details

A beautiful garden in a neighborhood near home jumped out at me as I rode home from work. I didn't have a camera with me, but it was close enough to home to warrant a quick visit to that garden accompanied by camera and macro lens.

I'm still amazed at the level of detail that the macro lens can capture...

...including a bee happily feeding on the nectar of spring (early summer?) flowers

Morning attire

The temperature was close to a summer riding temperature as I left the house this morning, but it wasn't quite there. The general rule of thumb is to keep your knees covered (when cycling, that is) if the temperature is below 65 degrees. It was in the 50s when I left home this morning, so my biking attire was supplemented by knee warmers and a wind jacket. After about 20 minutes, the jacket was too much, so I stashed it in my pannier. The knee warmers stayed though.

I saw two other early morning cyclists along my route, and I find it interesting that each of us had very different ways of dealing with the cool but warming morning temperatures. I was wearing shorts, knee warmers, and a sleeveless jersey. Another cyclist was wearing a sleeveless tri suit (so shorts, with bare knees) along with arm warmers. That meant he had a gap of bare skin between his shoulder and the middle of his upper arms. And then there was the woman in shorts, a short-sleeved jersey, and arm warmers. Funny that we all found very different solutions to the cool morning. Whatever works...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An unexpected walk

This week started with two sunny suitable for bike commuting days, but continued with two very wet and somewhat gray days. I say somewhat because the sky cleared to blue around three this afternoon. It seemed like a good day for a short after-work ride.

Well, it seemed like that to me, but apparently not to my bike. I was about 5 miles from home when something started feeling odd. What? It turned out to be a flat tire, not something that happens too often. It was odd in that it was the same tire that flatted just about a month ago. I pulled out the old tube, looked at the tire and found a piece of protruding glass. Hey - that doesn't belong there! At that point I found a slash in the tire. Hmmm. I guess I'll put a tire patch (usually used on the tube!) on the inside of the tire. (Actually, a dollar bill would have worked better as a tire boot, but silly me only had a twenty and that seemed like a lot of money to keep inside of a tire! I need to remember to take some one dollar bills with me, just in case).

As I was putting my "enough to get me home" patch in the tire, the woman who lived the in house where I was working came out with two of her sons. They were about to go watch her other son play softball. She stopped to see if I was OK, and my answer was yes. Then she offered me a ride home. Normally I would just fix the tire and continue my ride, but that slash on the tire made me very nervous. It was a good offer, and I took her up on it. Road angels appear when you least expect them, don't they?

I found it interesting that when she offered me the ride she said "I know I'm a stranger and you don't know me, but if that doesn't make you uncomfortable I'd be happy to drive you home". To which I responded "you don't know me either; you just noticed me sitting in front of your house changing a tire and were kind enough to offer help in the form of a ride - but I'd be glad to take you up on your offer". I guess we are both trusting people. And I had an interesting conversation with her young sons as they gave me a lift home.

It was early enough when I got home to head out on a different bike, but maybe the tire was a sign that this wasn't really meant to be a riding day. Walking with a camera sounded like a good alternative to me for today.

And yes, I am going to replace my slashed tire with not one but two tires - one for the bike, and one as a backup. Hopefully buying an extra tire will mean that I will not need it.

I'm always amazed at the beauty around me - looking at things (as opposed to looking beyond things) has definite rewards.

And sometimes it's the unexpected things that bring a smile to my face. This rubber duck was paddling aroung the reflecting pool on the Merrimack College campus. The flash of unexpected yellow in the water drew me closer...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Can you see the wind?

I woke up this morning to silence, and to a clear blue sky. Some white clouds moved in, the wind made its presence known by howling by my windows, and it stayed for the day. That's absolutely not a complaint though; wind is a happy replacement for the wet and dark gray weather of the past few days.

My bicycle wheels headed to the west at the beginning of my ride. It wasn't the route I thought I'd ride today, but when I was faced with a steady northwest wind, I thought I'd take it in my face on the way out. A little bit of a push from a tailwind felt good as I headed for home. It was good to be back out on the road...

A few miles from home a deer encounter brought a big smile to my face. I was on a relatively quiet road, a road with houses on one side, a cemetary, wooded area, and a farm stand on the other. I was quietly rolling along when a deer darted across the road, disappearing quickly into the woods. Pictures? Ah, no, it happened too fast - so the only photos are those in my head. Beautiful.

I really like the clock tower on this old mill building in Lawrence, framed by the steel of the bridge that I was crossing.

I tried to catch a shot of myself riding by this very nice reflective window, but my timing was a bit off. I guess I'll have to be happy with this somewhat posed picture instead!

New biking (business) cards

Before I left on my cross-country cycling trip back in 2002, I made some simple business cards. They were mostly text, but also included a line drawing of a cyclist that was available in the business card creation tool that I was using.

Recently I decided it was time for new cards. I wanted to reference my web site in addition to my crazyguyonabike journals, and my email address needed changing too. I could have taken the easy way out and just changed the text on my existing cards, but new, changed, and improved sounded like more fun to me. My business cards now include one of my own (cycling) photos to add a little more interest, a bit of a flair.

A view of my new cards. And yes, you can read the phone numbers on the actual cards - I just decided not to publish the numbers here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Freak weather system

There was an article in today's Boston Globe titled "Freak system is blamed for rain". Great title, and that definitely drew me in to read the article. Apparently, the weather pattern that seems to be stalled over New England is a winter-like pattern. The jet stream normally shifts to the north in the summer months, allowing summer-like weather to flood the area, and that hasn't happened yet this year. Rain, rain, and more rain... The article also contained a quote by a meterologist saying "If it was winter, we'd be getting snow, a lot of it". The article then went on to state that if the 18 inches of rain Boston has had since early May had been snow, we would have had 180 inches of the white stuff. While I don't believe that they can accurately predict the number of inches of snow from the inches of rain (since humidity and other conditions make a difference too) - I would have hated to see all of that snow in the winter, let alone in spring and early summer!

And yes, today was definitely a rainy day. It started last night, and continued through most of the day. I did notice in the mid-afternoon that the sky was getting lighter. Still raining, but clouds edging away from that dark gray color. And there was a shining orb behind the clouds. What?! Is that the sun trying to join us once again?

I wish I could say that I was able to dodge the raindrops today, but it just wasn't possible. My walk today was wet; wearing a rainjacket with a hood kept me dry though. And the forecast is for a dry day tomorrow. I hope...

I've done so much walking in the rain this year that I decided it was time to buy a rain hat! A trip to REI was definitely in order. And now that I have a rain hat, maybe the rain will stop.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Gray, but still dry for a bit...

Hey weather wizard - thanks for providing a temporary respite from the wet conditions. I assumed that today would be an "inside exercise" day, but the ground was still dry when I left the office a little before 5 o'clock. Very gray sky, but still dry... and dry enough that it seemed to be worth taking a chance.

I headed out on my bike a little later than normal, keeping an eye on the sky. It was a good day for riding a series of short loops. I was lucky too - no rain until after I arrived home and placed my bike in its dry place of honor.

Somehow I don't think tomorrow will be a dry day, but it helped to get out on the road today.

An open letter to the weather wizard

You were probably protecting me by providing a rainy weekend last week. After all, I did stretch a bit too far by riding all three days of Memorial Day weekend without any rest days in the previous two weeks. But because of your rainy days, last weekend provided a good rest. I rode my bike to work Monday and Tuesday (thanks for two good days!), and then the rains came back.

Early in the week it looked like the rain would continue through Saturday but that Sunday would be dry. As much as I'd like two dry weekend days, that wouldn't be too bad. But now, the forecast shows a 70% chance of rain for Saturday and a 60% chance for Sunday. Don't you think you could help me with one dry weekend day? Please?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Water falling from the sky

It seems like we've had a never ending series of rainy days...

It's raining again. Yes, this was predicted so I shouldn't be surprised - but I have to admit that I was hoping that the prediction wasn't true. I know bettter though. It looks like we're going to have serious rain today and tomorrow, with a possibility of rainy days through Sunday. That's not doing much for my goal of riding my bike to work 3 or 4 days a week during the summer months.

I'm definitely a weather- and daylight-dependent bicycle commuter. Living in the northeast means that I am pretty much limited to 4 months (probably 3 1/2 months is closer to reality) where I am happy with the conditions for commuting. So far this year I haven't been able to get past a 2-days a week commute. I wonder if my 3 to 4 days a week goal will ever become reality this year.

I suppose a view on the positive side is that there shouldn't be a water shortage this year. And I did manage to ride to work (and not get wet!) both Monday and Tuesday this week.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Through bands of water

The safe (or should I say conservative) approach to exercise today would have been walking. But that's not what I did...

I woke to another gray and wet day. I headed out in drizzle (in my car) this morning, camera in hand, to capture some of the beautiful flowers that are showing their petals. Home again, it was a good morning to relax, a cup of hot tea in hand, and to read the Sunday paper. The afternoon rolled around, and while it was still gray and the roads were still wet, there didn't appear to be any water coming from the sky. Ah, time to head out on my bike. Well that semblance of dry didn't last very long. It was clearly sprinkling, but I was happily rolling down the road. I thought for a second about heading back home and trading my cycling shoes for walking shoes, but my bike kept rolling. After all, they were just sprinkles...

And then, the sprinkles turned to rain. It didn't last too long, and my jacket did its job of keeping me dry. But that little bit of water falling from the sky added to the already damp roads contributed to a bike that insisted on getting cleaned and re-lubed as soon as I rolled home. Too bad there's no way of protecting the bike from all of the grit on the road! It's clean now though, until next time.

Raindrops on very small flowers...

...and on an unopened iris. Beautiful.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dancing between raindrops

It was a rainy day, and the rain passed over my house in bands. Rain, drizzle, heavy rain, sprinkles, rain, heavy rain. It stayed gray all day and the pavement never dried. It was a good day to escape into a good book, and to do some reading about one of my four possible destinations for a biking trip in September. My musings today take me to Nova Scotia - I wonder if that's where my bike & I will wander. Maybe, maybe not...

Mid-afternoon, when the deluge had changed to sprinkles, I headed out for a walk. It was a decent walk, cool temperatures, a brisk pace, feet moving for a little over an hour. Back home again, and within ten minutes of my returning home the rain was pouring down. Lucky!

Raindrops on flowers...

Friday, June 02, 2006

A non-vacation day

Originally I’d planned to take today as a vacation day and do a 3-day tour in southern Maine with Rover, my cameras, and one of my bikes. But when I looked at the weather forecast early in the week and there was rain forecast for Friday and Saturday (and a high probability of rain, like 90%, as opposed to the more nebulous "chance of rain") I decided to work today. And today’s weather has proved to me that I made the right decision. I woke to wet ground and gray skies. Then the rains came. And stopped, and started, and stopped - but the sky stayed dark gray.

I think I’ll move this 3-day escape to sometime in July. After all, I already have a 4-day trip to Downeast Maine planned for late June. Yes, I'll be riding for most of that trip, but I also hope to visit the puffins. Here's hoping that both the weather and the ocean cooperate.

In the meantime, maybe this coming weekend won't be a total washout.

And is anyone else as confused as I am about what day of the week it is? I love long weekends, but both last week and this week I kept losing track of what day it was!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A dry bubble

The weather forecast for today called for rain starting in the middle of the afternoon. I honored that forecast and drove to work today. As it turned out, I could have ridden my bike...

Mid-afternoon, the sky darkened. It looked threatening, but no rain appeared. When I arrived home, it was hot, and the sun was hidden behind haze with no dark clouds in sight. I took that as a sign that I should ride... I headed out on my bike, hoping to get in a 25-mile ride. That wasn't to be, although I really can't complain about the 20 miles that I managed in still dry conditions. I cut my ride short because as I was about to start my last loop I heard the distinct rumble of thunder. Ah, time to head home. (I chose to ride a series of short loops so I wouldn't be too far from home if the rains came.)

When I got home, there was still blue sky and sunshine over my house, but it was next to some very dark clouds. Thunder, more thunder…

It actually didn’t rain until several hours later, but the thunder continued. And within 15 minutes of my getting home, the sky turned very dark. Heading home sooner than planned was a good decision.

It was really hard - or maybe I should say impossible - to capture the amazing differences in different sections of the sky, from blue, to white clouds, to angry gray.