Denise Goldberg's blog

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Simple beauty

Mid-day walks give me a burst of energy, reset my mind, and let me come back to solving my work puzzles refreshed. It was a beautiful day today, a good day for a short early afternoon stroll.

A stand of goldenrod drew my eye as I walked by. Strong yellow flowers, with a triangular patch of white. What is that? Ah, a moth, wings folded up so that the underside of its wings was almost all that I could see. White, with a single gold dot along the edge of each wing, bright yellow antennae, a lighter shade than the flower on which it was perched. I'm so glad I stood and watched for a few minutes, because the moth treated me by opening its wings to show me a splash of blue and brown decorating the top of the wings. Beautiful.


Temperatures the past few days have emphasized the coming change of seasons. I was already getting the hint from the shortening days, but just in case I didn't see it coming, the temperature slapped me in the face.

This morning won the prize. I woke up and did my usual check of the temperature. It was 49 degrees out. Brrr! I'm really not ready for this, but ready or not the weather wizard appears to be in charge.

Can't we have more summer? Please? After all the autumn equinox is still three weeks away. Can't the season trail the equinox? I really don't think that we need this early preview.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bugs, bugs, bugs!

Wow - where did all of these little bugs come from?

I had planned a bicycle commute to work today, but when the alarm went off this morning I decided I needed another hour's worth of sleep. Sleep was good, and my bicycle and I went for a ride after work. Sunshine, relative cool, comfortable, a beautiful late afternoon ride.

It was after I got home and saw myself in the mirror that I noticed the little teeny bugs sitting on my (cycling) jersey. Yuck!

I spent a few minutes catching and crushing bugs. (Sorry bugs, I really don't need this type of visit!) And then it was definitely time for a shower. When I ride late in the day I usually hop in the shower to wash off the sweat. Tonight? Not only did I need to wash off the sweat, I needed to wash my hair to make sure that there were no tiny bugs lurking there.

Clean again. Happy...

Monday, August 28, 2006

A blue day

It was a blue day. Not a sunny blue day, just blue. Off. And yes, I know, the weather wizard created a very gray day today, and I'm sure that contributed to my odd mood. Blue...

Thoughts of my brother and his difficult battle with what appears to be unrelenting pain keep stirring and wandering through my head. Frustration that there doesn't appear to be anything I can (really) do to help... Yes, I keep sending good thoughts his way, loose, floating through the air, wishes for comfort and no more pain, hopes for healing.

Neal, my thoughts and love are with you always.
And I hope that this blue day disappears with the nighttime; tomorrow needs to be a day for new hope for all of us.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Chasing frogs... in hand

As I was wandering on two wheels yesterday, I passed a pond that was clad in lily pads and water lilies. I stopped to soak in the beauty and I heard the sound of frogs. And then I saw the frogs. It was a staring contest, human to frog, frog to human. Only a small piece of the frogs' heads were visible. Staring...

I only had my baby camera with me yesterday, and I couldn't convince it to focus on the frogs - so I just had to return today with my SLR. I rode a very different set of loops today, but I made sure to visit the frogs again. Photo success!

I'm not sure who had the more powerful stare - but I suspect it was the frog!

I guess the frog decided that it was safe to sit up a little higher and come a little further out of the water...

Sunflower magic

More pictures from this weekend can be found on pages 10 and 11 of this photo gallery.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Alarm buzzing, morning routine, waking to the sound of heavy rain...

My bicycle was hoping that today would be a commute to work by bike day. She took a rest day yesterday, and she was sure today would be a good riding day. After all, at the beginning of the week the weather forecast showed days of sunshine and dry pavement. Yes, I know, I shouldn't believe the forecast. I was hoping, but clearly the weather wizard had different ideas than the forecasters, presenting this area with heavy rain today.

As I drove to work, I passed one bicycle commuter who apparently decided to ignore the water falling from the sky. He didn't look too happy, and I know that I wouldn't be either if I were out there on two wheels this morning.

What I really need is a bubble for me and my bike. Goal - to be able to ride in the rain and stay dry, and to protect my bike from all of the wet road "gunk" that totally trashes the bike within minutes. Ah, dream on...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Early morning delight

Sun emerging... wispy white clouds against a deep blue sky, backlit by emerging sunshine. Pictures captured in my mind. Beautiful.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dogs greeting bikes

My bike chose a slightly different route home tonight. I was standing waiting for a light to change on a road that was jammed with cars when I noticed that the car just in front of me had a backwards-facing dog in the front seat. The passenger window was rolled down, and as he looked back, the dog clearly noticed me.

"Oh look, it's a cyclist. I'm in the car so I can't chase her, but it must be time to bark!"
I moved up a bit further so I could talk with the driver after I heard her say "Chloe, stop barking!". Chloe insisted on protecting her owner, and the barking continued. The light changed, and the driver very nicely suggested that I start first. Ah, with my bicycle ahead of the car, Chloe apparently decided that her owner was now in control and that it must be time to stop barking.

Around the corner, down a different road, turning once more... I was in a quiet neighborhood, and a little dog - a pug - was walking his owner on the sidewalk on the other side of the road. As soon as the pug saw me, he quickly jumped into the road and attempted to chase down my bike. He was on a leash though, and his owner clearly told him that wasn't acceptable behavior. We shared a smile before we each moved on in (our) opposite directions.

Dogs make me smile, particularly when they stay within their own territory. It's the dogs that are loose who scare me. I remember one little guy in Ireland who I thought was contained in a fenced yard. He wasn't - the gate in the fence did not fully extend to the ground, a fine gate for adult humans, but not for little dogs. Luckily this dog decided not to keep up the chase beyond the next yard.

Dark morning sky

Alarm buzzing, morning shock... When my alarm woke me just before 5 o'clock this morning, I was sure that the time showing on my clock was wrong. How can it be 4:50AM when it's still totally dark outside?

Yes, I know I complained about this just two short weeks ago, but as the sunrise creeps to later times the realization that the days are getting shorter still continues to surprise.
I guess I'll just have to enjoy my remaining commute-by-bike days as this month draws to a close. With my upcoming September wander to Nova Scotia, my cycling focus will change a bit. And when I return from vacation, I'll be back to no-commute riding. I hope to ride on the weekends through the end of the year, and I'll try for late afternoon rides as long as the daylight supports them. Based on previous experience, I'll adjust somehow...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rain receding

I woke at 6 this morning to the sound of heavy rain, and the sound made me peel myself out of bed to rescue my newspaper from the front walk before the water seeped through its plastic bag covering. Ah, I beat the water! Paper rescued, time for a little more sleep... The next time I opened my eyes it was nine o'clock. Wow. I can't remember the last time I slept that late. But I know I needed the sleep, so I have no regrets about missing a few hours of my Sunday morning.

I expected a rainy day today, and I almost welcomed it because I knew that I needed a rest day. Most of the day fell into that category, but when the pavement dried and the sun peeked out from behind a cloud in the middle of the afternoon I couldn't resist taking a short ride. It was still cloudy, and the weather forecast called for isolated thunderstorms, so I chose to wander in the general vicinity of my home. Still, I managed a 27-mile loop, and the roads stayed dry.

As I sit and write, I'm listening to raindrops hitting the pavement once again, listening to the distant rumble of thunder. And I'm hoping for dry roads in the morning to match the weather forecast that calls for a string of partly cloudy and very reasonable temperature days. My bike wants to ride to work tomorrow...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Still summer

Sights from my bicycle saddle on a mid-August day...

Summer flowers are still decorating the landscape...

...even as some blooms have gone to seed.

And who gave these leaves permission to start to take on their autumn colors?

I think this little (?) guy wants to come out and play. Do you suppose he's fascinated by the two-legged creature sporting two wheels who is also holding a camera?

Funny feet

Uh oh! My sister made me try on her Crocs when I visiting last weekend. Our feet are no where close in size, but just the feel of the shoes made my feet decide that they wanted a pair for wearing around the house and for running errands too. It's funny, but they don't look comfortable at all. And yes, you're right - I'd have to say they add to the ugly foot syndrome.

The manufacturer conceived these as outdoor / boat shoes, but their market has moved well beyond that niche. Their description of the shoes:

"the cayman™ is comfortable, cool, molds to your feet; orthotic foot bed; advanced toe-box ventilation system; slip-resistant and non-marking soles; anti-microbial and odor resistant; ergonomic italian styling; wide, roomy foot bed made with croslite™ PCCR material; buoyant; weighs only ounces"
Yes, absolutely, they are comfortable. My feet definitely approve of their new purple footwear.

They may be funny looking, but my feet are happy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A ride, & sunflower greetings

Early arrival at work, listening to my body's request for a single (after work) ride today...

My early arrival also meant a guilt-free early departure, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the day. I grabbed my little camera and rolled out for a relatively short ride. Twenty miles was enough for me tonight, a slow but steady pace providing a relaxing end to the day.

The fully dressed flowers are beautiful, but I find the opening blooms fascinating and beautfiful in their own way

Ah, caught one! Bees, happily persuing nectar...


I had all intentions of riding to work today, making it three days in a row of bicycle commuting. Good intentions, but this morning my body insisted on a quieter exercise day. Today, that means a ride after work instead of two rides (to work in the early morning, home in the late afternoon).

Knowing that this month marks the end of my bicycle commuting days for the year, I guess I've been pushing myself a bit. The daylight is visibly shrinking, so I know my comfort level with riding to work is coming to an end. Yes, I know there are people who commute year-round on their bikes. And I know there are good lights available. But I also know that the drivers around here are crazy enough in the daylight!

I'll get a ride in late this afternoon after work. And tomorrow should be a good decent distance day. Sunday? Right now the weather forecast calls for an 80% chance of heavy rain, so I suspect that may be a rest day. Still, that should give me 5 days of riding for the week with a decent mileage total.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Riding a roller coaster

It seems that dealing with cancer is like riding a roller coaster. There are good days and bad, ups and downs. The day before yesterday was horrible, yesterday was good. Today? Well, it sounds like today is a down day.

Neal, can I push you up that hill? More good wishes are flowing your way, and I've even heard that readers of my blog (outside of family members, that is) are adding their hope to ours.

The good day yesterday still brings me hope; it happened once, and my logical mind tells me that if happened once that it can happen again.

Racing? Playing!

Heading to work, bicycle wheels rolling down the road on a cool morning, sun rising higher in the sky, uninterrupted blue...

Relative quiet (discounting the passing cars, of course) interrupted by chittering sounds. My eyes seek the source of the sounds, curious, plus hoping to avoid a road encounter with the little animals who are carrying on the conversation. Ah, no road incursion this time - a squirrel and a chipmunk are busy chasing each other up and down and around a tree trunk. A funny morning sight...

And yes, I'm very glad that they decided to stay out of the road. The suicide games of these little animals have always scared me since my assumption is that if I hit one with my bike that I will probably hit the ground hard in addition to hurting or killing the cause of my fall. After all, I'm a lot heavier than they are!

I remember once many years ago when a chipmunk decided to play suicide games with my bike. I was riding down a very quiet road next to a lake when a chipmunk ran into the road. He crossed in front of my bike, then turned, looked at me, and ran in front of me once again. The next time - he ran between my wheels! I guess it's a very good thing that I was able to maintain my speed and direction; the accident that was waiting to happen didn't.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Sometimes things change, and turn in the right direction. A phone call tonight shook me out of my doldrums with good news - apparently the drugs have helped Neal turn a corner, attaining a good level of comfort. Pain relief, smiles, walking the halls, body behaving.

Neal, good thoughts and wishes will continue to be sent from me to you - always.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Requesting comfort

An open letter to my brother...

Oh Neal, if there were something, anything, I could do to help you, I would happily do it. As it is, it appears that all I can do is continue to send good wishes and hope your way. Wishes for relief from pain, wishes for more time, hope that the drugs will wend their way to the right places to help you. I know that my thoughts and healing wishes join with those of many other people.

I wish I had the powers of a wizard to send Neal healing and comfort.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Visions high and low

Flying home in the morning, Philadelphia to Manchester...
As we flew over Manhattan, the pilot announced that there was "a beautiful view off the right side of the plane, glistening water surrounding Manhattan".

Home, and time for wandering on two wheels...
Now the beauty was overhead, sky a vivid shade of blue accented by both wisps and clumps of clouds, with the sun occasionally playing hide and seek behind the larger clouds.

...a beautiful day

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Looking for laughter...

...during illness.

A weekend family visit, in the hospital but still a visit nonetheless.
Neal was in bed, and we (multiple family members, that is) were quiet, talking, not talking, just being together. A cell phone started "ringing". It was Neal's phone, and he answered it. A friend was calling. Neal's first question to his caller was "how did you find me?". It wasn't until several minutes later that he realized that the call came in on his cell phone and not the land line in the hospital room. It was good to see him smile.

It's too bad that smiles can't erase pain all by themselves (without drugs, that is)...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Full moon accenting rain

Conflicting sights and sounds...

A full moon hovers in the night sky, highlighting wisps of clouds. Dark patches of bare sky bleed through the brightness. The soft sound of raindrops... splashes of water decorate the ground.

I suppose if the sun was out this would be called a sunshower. Against the background of the dark sky? It must be a moonshower.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Edges of daylight

The days are shrinking...

I always find it amazing how fast the daylight seems to change as we move away from the summer solstice. Somehow, I don't notice the change right away - but this week I feel like it has slapped me in the face. On a non-commute-to-work-by-bike day close to the solstice, I could easily grab a before-work ride at 5Am. At that time of the morning now it is still quite dark.

Just out of curiosity, I went to the National Weather Service Sun & Moon page for this area to compare the daylight hours. On the day of the summer solstice the sun rose at 5:17AM and set at 8:26PM, for a total of 15.2 hours of possible daylight. Today, the sun rose at 5:45AMm and set at 7:55PM, for a total of 14.1 hours of daylight.

You wouldn't think that difference would be noticeable - it's really just an hour, split between the edges of the day. It creeps up, easing the change into your conscious. And all of a sudden, it seems to jump out and slap you in the face.

Sun rising, morning commute to work, 6:30AM...

Heading home, shadows encroaching, 5:45PM...

If you're worried, it wasn't anywhere close to dark at this point - I was just traveling down a partially shaded road.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Poison ivy?

How did I manage to pick up a case of what I think is poison ivy (or one of its close cousins)? I haven't been hiking or wandering in any areas with a multitude of plants...

I have a feeling I can really blame this one on my camera. I've been wandering on my bike lately accompanied by at least one (if not two) cameras. If there is something interesting along the side of the road - a flower, a tree, an animal, anything that jumps out and grabs my eye - I have a tendency to stop for pictures. And I think nothing of leaning my bike up against a tree and walking off of the road (wandering through patches of green) to snap a picture. Hmm... I guess I need to be a little more careful of where I traipse.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunflower awakening

Sunflowers are beautiful, even when emerging from bud to bloom.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Roadside smiles

It was getting close to the end of my riding day when I noticed two dogs sitting in beach chairs - and in beach attire - in front of a (pet supplies) store. I didn't need any pet supplies, but I definitely needed pictures!

The dogs? Lifesize - or possibly bigger than lifesize - pooches, attired for the beach, who were definitely happier staying seated than their real-life counterparts would have been.

This dog - yes, you're right, he's not real - gave me the gift of a smile.

A coastal glide

A beautiful weekend, with sunshine, blue skies decorated with fluffy white clouds, very comfortable temperatures (in the 70s), and a reasonable amount of wind...

I've been waiting for a weekend like this one, hoping to do a 2-day (1-night) bike trip in south coastal Maine. What I didn't figure in to my plans is that it is very difficult to pull off last-minute lodging plans at this time of year. My preference is a bed & breakfast, but B&B reservations generally can't be canceled. Well, they can be canceled, but there usually isn't a refund unless the owners can find another guest to rent the room. That's probably a reasonable business practice, but it puts a crimp in non-planned last minute weekend getaways. I can either make a reservation and go, regardless of the weather, or I can wait until the last minute and find that there's no room at the inn! No problem - maybe I'll manage a quick trip later, in a cooler and maybe less popular month.

For today though, Maine still provided a temptation for me and my bicycle. I drove to Wells, and rode from Wells to Biddeford Pool and back again. I followed the Southern Coast Tour cue sheet (from the Maine Department of Transportation web site) for the outbound portion of my ride. It nicely identifies the roads leading to the ocean, following the jagged coastline. I have to admit that by the time I reached the turnaround point I was done following directions, and I followed Maine route 9 back to my car. It's a very reasonable road for riding, two lanes with reasonable paved shoulders for the most part. And it was totally in character for me to wander back without following the cue sheet's many turns - although I was happy to have the help to direct me towards the water on the ride out.

Wheels rolling, stopping, rolling, stopping, camera clicking, absorbing sunshine and scenery...

What fun to be able to capture this sea gull's interaction - standing in the water, running, flying - with the wave rolling in!

More photos from today's wandering can be found my Meandering in south coastal Maine - 2006 photo gallery.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Twenty degrees down

It's not often that I am aware of traipsing through a weather front. The exreme heat that has been overwhelming this area was forecast to break today, and what a change the weather wizard created. It was 92 degrees when I left work this afternoon, and by the time I reached home (approximately 16 miles away), the thermometer recorded 72 degrees. Amazing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Riding and sweating

I think I'm lucky that the sun decided to hide behind some growing clouds as I was out on my bike this evening. It was another hot and humid day, 95 degrees with a heat index of 102 when I rolled out of the door.

Apparently today I was a solo act; I didn't see another cyclist out on the road, and I didn't see anyone exercising by foot either. Hmmm... I wonder what that says about my decision to ride.

Another day, still sweaty. I didn't feel wet while I was riding, but I was definitely wet (plus I had a stellar case of helmet-head) after I stopped.

And it was so sticky that I had a battle with my cycling shorts before the ride. Do you have any idea how hard it is to situate tight shorts on a sweating body? No worry, I won the battle!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thick air

A hot and humid day, with temperatures in the mid-90s by late afternoon...

Yes, you're right - it would have been smart to take a rest day today. I drove my car to work instead of commuting by bike, but my bicycle insisted on heading out for a spin once I got home again. It wasn't a long ride, but I'd have to say that 20 miles is quite respectable given the high temperature and humidity.

Funny thing, on a route where I usually see other cyclists and people walking and running too - I only saw a few other people exercising in the heat.

Can you see the sweat? Unlike the end of my ride on Saturday, today my face was just a little red - but as soon as I stopped moving the sweat started rolling off of me!