Denise Goldberg's blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unexpected warmth

Some days are meant to be days of wandering and not working. Today was one of those days. I woke to a forecast of a warm last day of October, with temperatures predicted to be in the mid- to high-60s. The sky was studded with clouds, but there was no rain in sight. It seemed like a good fit for a bike ride, an unplanned vacation day.

The air even seemed to have a smell of warmth. I don't know if that's really possible, but my imagination says that it is.

Warmth, dry pavement, clouds with occasional rays of sunlight painting the trees, many with bare branches and some that are still gracefully showing brightly colored leaves.

An enjoyable and relaxing wander...
A flower? A wood carving? No to both - this beautiful piece of fungus was growing on a downed tree in the woods.

From beautifully colored flowers to fluff...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Magic movement

Morning dawns, alarm clock signals the start of a work day. Shower complete, ready to face the day, time to head downstairs for breakfast...

I opened the front door to retrieve the newspaper, and was very surprised to find my trash barrel standing in the middle of the driveway, relatively close to the house with the lid sitting on the ground. How very odd; it's just after 6 o'clock, and I've never seen the trash picked up this early. As I picked up the paper, I realized that while the trash barrel was not where I left it last night - it had not yet been emptied.

Was that self-propulsion of an inanimate object? Not this time. The strong winds of yesterday continued throughout the night, performing magic tricks for morning delight.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wind won the day

I woke to the sound of the wind. Dry roads were tempting me to roll out on my bike, but the winds convinced me that walking was a better activity for today. Blowing, gusting, the wind speed when I headed out was between 25 and 28 miles per hour, with gusts to 47 miles per hour.

Today was a day to dream of a road that starts and ends at my front door where the wind is always at my back. I suppose that if the wind was really howling in a circle that I'd be in the middle of a tornado - so my dream of a tailwind day is just that, a dream.


There are still some late-season blooms gracing gardens, hovering above the background of fallen leaves.

Amazingly some flowers that have gone to seed are still sporting their seedy look. It surprises me that the strong wind hasn't stripped the fluffy remains of the flower.

Many trees have totally bare branches, but patches of color still remain.

Some of the brighter leaves residing on the ground jumped up and grabbed my camera's eye.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Walking in sideways rain

Today was a day for relaxing, curling up with a good book, staying inside...

You know me though - in spite of the heavy, wind-driven rain, I needed to spend some time outside too. Walking was the activity of the day, supported by what was probably somewhat odd attire. My cycling rain jacket won the day, along a serious rain hat. To those two pieces of serious rain attire I added non-waterproof tights made of Power Stretch (a Malden Mills wonder fabric). These kept my legs dry in spite of the fact that they don't have any water repellant properties. The outside of the fabric is smooth, hiding a somewhat fleecy inside surface. Somehow the water just rolled off. My feet were another story; they were happy even though they were very wet. I chose not to wear my running shoes, figuring that it was so wet outside that it would take several days for them to dry out again. Instead my feet donned wool socks and a pair of Chaco sandals. The sandals (surprisingly enough) provide good foot support, and wool is the best there is at maintaining a semblance of warmth even when it's wet.

It was a wet but beautiful walk. Heavy rain was supplemented by a swirling wind, swirling and strong enough that I was surprised that my rain hat behaved itself and remained on my head. There were rivers running down both sides of the roads, and brightly colored leaves (enhanced to a shining surface by the flowing water) smiled up at me from the ground.

Photos today were limited to the sidewalk in front of my door where I could (somewhat) protect my camera. Potential photos jumped out at me as I walked in the rain, but those are only in my mind - no camera accompanied me on my walk.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Snowboarding? Bailey!

OK, OK, you're absolutely right - I am a little bit nutty! But you know, I think that trait runs in our family.

Bailey's parents (yes, we do share them) are headed to New York for the weekend, and while their hotel welcomes doggy guests, Bailey wouldn't respond too well to staying in a hotel room if his mom & dad happened to head out without him. Instead, he is visiting the kennel at his vet's office.

Shhh! He doesn't know it's a kennel - he says he's going to the mountains to try snowboarding for the first time.

The next time my people go away for a weekend without me I think I'll head out on my own adventure.

Here's a picture of Denise and me soaking up the sun, pouring over a brochure in preparation for signing up for a snowboarding(?) weekend! Denise said that she doesn't like screaming down hills, so I guess this will be my very own adventure.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fading light

It's been a week of walking (not riding) after work. It's the last week that the daylight comes even close to supporting a ride, but the cloud cover changes the quality of the available light. Walking works for now, with daylight supporting the beginning of my wander and flashing lights (clipped to my reflective belt) highlighting my presence along the side of the road as the sun drops below the horizon.

Walking observations... the setting sun highlighting a sky painted with clouds, trees bearing leaves and others flashing bare branches, wind rushing by, flocks of birds circling, dogs happily prancing next to their owners...

Fading colors highlighted by late day sunlight

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A return to shoes

It's a solid month past the autumnal equinox. The days are noticeably cooler, and morning temperatures are chilly.

It's time - my feet have finally demanded that I start wearing shoes (and tights!) instead of my Chaco sandals. I seem to have this battle with myself every year over the changing of seasons; maybe something is telling me that if my feet stay relatively bare that the cold weather won't descend. I know better, and yes feet, I've finally listened and switched back to shoes for now.

Happy feet...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Coastal views

Daylight, riding, walking, soaking in the sunshine... while I can (and do) walk outside both with and without daylight, cycling is something that I reserve for daylight hours. Today's beautiful but cool weather demanded a ride in addition to a traipse along the coast.

My early morning ride was accompanied by temperatures in the very low 40s, which meant that it was time to start to figure out my off-season layers. Ah, a quick ride with the right clothing, a good way to start the day...

Ride complete, my bicycle happy, it was time to head for the New Hampshire coast. Feet were today's mode of transportation after an initial lift in my bright blue fossil fuel-powered vehicle. It was a good day for a walk along the coast, blue skies marked by both white and gray clouds, a quiet ocean, sea gulls (and mystery birds too) decorating the water and the sky. In a change from my usual solo wandering, today's walk was accompanied by conversation, a shared experience.

Thanks Annie. While I do enjoy my solo wanderings, sharing the experience is fun too. A good change of pace, an enjoyable afternoon...

Blue sky hiding behind lines of clouds, sunshine reflecting on the water, beauty

Bird posing, resting

Yes, I really do know that I shouldn't shoot directly into the sun. Most of the "into the sun" photos I took today really didn't work - but I like this one, highlighting the clouds.

Sea gulls playing, quiet waves rolling in to shore...

Puzzles of genes

How should I look at this puzzle? From the outside looking in, or from the inside looking out? Sometimes it is easier to look at things from the outside looking in - but perhaps that is really a way of ignoring a potential issue.

When a doctor recommended that I go for genetic counseling because of what appears to be a strong family history of colon cancer, I immediately accepted his suggestion. Why? Because knowing that I do or do not have a propensity for developing the disease gives me the option of scheduling tests (to hopefully identify anomalies before they become problems) on a more (or less) frequent basis. I suppose I could stick my head in the sand and pretend that the possibility of developing this nasty disease doesn't exist, but that doesn't feel right to me.

Friday afternoon I think I was on the inside looking out - even though at times during my conversations with the genetic counselor and the doc, it almost seemed as if I was standing on the outside looking in. There were questions to be answered, a profile to be built. There are genes to be tested, but unfortunately only some of the gene mutations that cause colon cancer can currently be identified. I suppose it's somewhat amazing that tests exist to identify even some of the bad genes. Some are better than none, right? And I found it interesting that the recommendations were to run the initial tests on the family member that contracted cancer the earliest (in terms of age). Apparently it's not as simple as testing the curious - as in testing me.

For now, it's a bit of a waiting game.

Puzzles abound, of genes, and of life...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Shadows and highlights

The sun snuck to the pavement through a thick canopy of trees, sometimes allowing me to see my own shadow, sometimes not.

Pockets of bright colors still greet the eye, even though there are already trees totally devoid of leaves.

Some of the leaves resting on the ground continue to share their bright colors.

Words, words...

...did you really mean what you "said"?

You're right, I may be a bit picky about the use of words - but this one has been bugging me for quite a while. When I'm not out on my own bike, I live vicariously by reading journals of other touring cyclists, and I also participate in a women's cycling discussion forum.

Something has been jumping off the page (ok, really the screen) at me lately. It seems that there are quite a few people out there who don't spell well. I've noticed that quite a few people use the verb peddling (instead of pedaling) in reference to touring and riding a bicycle. I'm curious, does the use of the word peddle instead of pedal bother you too, or is it just me?

  1. to travel about with wares for sale; broadly : SELL;
  2. to be busy with trifles : PIDDLE;
  3. to sell or offer for sale from place to place : HAWK; broadly : SELL;
  1. to ride a bicycle;
  2. to work the pedals of
Definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster Online
The interesting thing is that both words could be correctly used in a single sentence to reflect the activity of pedaling a bike to peddle (that is, to sell) something, anything.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Once again

...soaking in end of day sunlight

No, this picture really isn't upside down! Can't you see the top of some trees along the bottom edge of the photo? I loved the colors of the leaves against the blue sky, and I was standing under the tree pointing my camera up to the sky.

A glimpse of a tree sporting fiery leaves, stone wall and all...

...and a little bit of magic from the swiftly setting sun.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

To the edge...

...of daylight, that is!

Although it may appear that I have been overly focused on getting in a ride after work, there is a very good reason for my two-wheeled obsession. The days continue to shorten by minutes each day; today's sunset was just before 6 o'clock. It will move an hour (plus several minutes) earlier in just ten more days, so my ability to squeeze in a ride after work is about to come to an end (until spring).

Today's weather was a real gift, especially considering that the weather forecast called for several days of rain. We had heavy rain last night and very wet roads this morning, but by the middle of the afternoon the sun was shining brightly and the roads were dry. Home after work... there was still enough daylight to support heading out on my bike for a quick ride of short loops. Why loops? If I misjudged the time that the sun would dip below the horizon, or if the clouds spread and darkened the sky, I could get off of the (unexpectedly dark) road relatively quickly. The temperature? A balmy 67 degrees, unexpected warmth in the late afternoon of an October day, supported my riding in shorts without knee warmers.

The sun played hide and seek, shooting rays through the clouds, and then dropping quickly. It was still barely above the horizon when I rolled home.

Sunshine highlights trees clad in yellow

A quick capture of the sun's rays highlighting the clouds, not too many minutes before it dropped below the horizon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Wacky drivers

I've lived in this area long enough that I really shouldn't be surprised by stupid moves by drivers, but today - I was surprised not once but twice!

Morning, driving to work... I was on route 62, about to cross over I-93. The road there has a left turn lane (or what passes as a turn lane). It was occupied by a car flashing a left turn signal. As I watched, a car that was positioned several cars behind the turning car (who was nicely waiting for oncoming traffic to clear) pulled madly to the right, zoomed up the right lane, and turned left in front of the car waiting to turn. Luckily this bad behavior didn't cause an accident.

I would think that watching one piece of bad driving behavior was enough for a day, but it wasn't. Time to head for home... I was stopped in a long line of cars at a red light when I saw the second piece of bad driving behavior. The road I was on is just wide enough to support four lanes, two in each direction. I was in the left hand lane heading north, sitting, waiting for a green light. Several cars ahead of me, someone was very impatient. This car pulled into the southbound lane heading north, zoomed up to the red light, and turned left against the light. Hey, that light isn't supposed to be just a suggestion!

Amazing... or is it just amazing that I was surprised?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Walk, click!

My intention today was to take a quick after-work ride, but I arrived home a little later than planned. Quickly disappearing daylight plus heavily shaded roads along my close-to-home cycling route made me head out on two feet instead of two wheels. And surprise! surprise! my camera decided to come along for a ride.

It was a beautiful afternoon, crystal clear blue skies accompanied by cool temperatures (low 50s) that dictated layers of light clothing. Guessing the layers right during this in-between temperature time of the year is just practice for the onset of real cold when my guesses need to be right when I head out. After all a slight mistake in the weight of my clothing doesn't really matter right now, but it will later. Practice...

Many of the trees are still clad in colors and some trees haven't joined the party yet, but it's clear that some of the colors are starting to fade and bare branches are starting to emerge.

From a distance many of the colors appear to be fading to shades of brown, but close views of individual trees still show autumn finery.

A real mixture of colors on a single tree... And look at the leaves that are still green where they join to the tree but have changed to orange or red at the edge.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sunshine, cool, colors

A beautiful crisp fall day, sunshine with scattered clouds, colored leaves decorating the trees, a good day to wander on a bicycle...

A full day stretched in front of me with no plans, allowing me the luxury of waiting for relative warmth before I headed out. It was quite cold in the morning with temperatures hovering in the 30s. The sun was shining, and it would have been possible to dress for the cold, but I waited until noon to head out. Noon brought sunshine and temperatures in the mid 50s, allowing me to ride in close to summer attire. The addition of knee warmers and a wind vest were enough to keep me warm.

I rolled (on pavement) through wooded areas filled with painted trees. The rose-colored lenses in my sunglasses enhanced the orange leaves with brightness against the clear blue sky.

How can I enjoy the fall colors so much knowing that the next days will easily bring empty trees and colder temperatures?

Shadow play, riding on a sunny afternoon

Orange leaves jump out against the background of a white birch tree

Another sign of the season, a ghost proclaiming that Halloween is near

Friday, October 13, 2006


It was a day for walking, starting in daylight and finishing as the sun was setting. Wisps of clouds hung over the horizon, painted by the setting sun, brushstrokes of bright pink, shaded above by deepening grays and below by bands of light yellow.

Simple beauty...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Afternoon delight

Yesterday there were light drops of water coming from the sky as I headed out on my early evening walk. I thought about not walking, but I quickly realized that as the season jumps into late fall that I'm going to have to adjust once more to the weather. And once I got moving I was fine - I just needed to adjust to my off-season exercise attitude.

Overnight, there was heavy rain, and I woke up to wet pavement and a very gray sky. The weather was changing though, and by mid-morning gray skies gave way to sunshine and dry roads. Clouds moved in once more, but it was relatively warm with temperatures in the high 60s. That's it - warmth and dry roads, and my bicycle sent me a message saying "it's time to ride!".

While the daylight is visibly shrinking each day there was still enough light to support a quick after-work ride. It was shorter (from a mileage standpoint) than I wanted, but I followed my instincts to finish while there was still a reasonable amount of sunlight. After all, it's important to be visible to the other vehicles on the road.

A quick spin, a few pictures, a happy Denise...

Large splashes of color along the road, still interspersed with sections of green

A view from the woods, a carpet of leaves edging a stream, trees sporting red and orange leaves standing in the background

Danger, bookstore in area

I often go for a walk in the middle of the day. It wakes me up, clears my mind, and in general is a good break from my work day. My mid-day walks usually have no goal in mind other than time, but today I found another excuse (or push!) for a walk.

One of my bad (or good?) habits, probably the exact opposite of my active riding habit, is that of getting wrapped up in a good book. That means I have a healthy addiction to bookstores. And - with the opening of Wayside Commons (a new shopping center that calls itself a destination) - there is a bookstore within easy walking distance of my office. I tested the distance today, a 15 minute walk to the bookstore, a little book browsing, and a 15 minute walk back to my office. Now that's a good excuse for a walk!

And no, I don't really need any excuse to walk - but I imagine on those questionable walking weather days a bookstore visit could entice me to walk.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Leaf magic

Driving home from work, sunshine spilling onto the trees...

It was a magic drive this afternoon, with perfect lighting conditions to highlight the red, yellow, and orange hues painting the trees. There are sections where the trees are still attired in green, but there are others that are fully painted in fall colors. I have to admit that while I'm not ready for the changes in temperature and in daylight, I really do enjoy the colors of the season.

And I promise, I'll try not to complain too much when the leaves are gone.


Memories, thoughts, connection with the present, the inner workings of our brains... I had an interesting conversation with my brother tonight. He is back to close to normal after his battle with mental storms brought on (we believe) by his medications, but he is still battling occasional memory glitches. OK, OK, I know that's not a medically acceptable term, but it is descriptive, isn't it?

I suppose it's not often that you can talk with someone else who has experienced memory issues, and Neal has had a couple of distinct experiences. The first was his total confusion that we believe was caused by the cocktail of medications he was on. Those medications gradually robbed him of his mental accuity and placed him and his active imagination firmly in the past. Luckily that state is gone, and he has his mind back (for the most part, that is). There are still times of confusion, and occurrences of what I can only describe as disconnected time. He asked how I dealt with my own memory problems after my brain's relatively high-speed encounter with the pavement over two years ago. Looking back, I think that my own brain injury was much kinder than his state. I have no memory at all of the really bad times, and while I've been told that I wasn't functioning normally for a while (probably a number of weeks) from a mental point of view, my brain recovered what I believe is its normal function. I wish I could tell Neal that there were some tricks I learned to get through that time, but I have no memories of any.

Neal, my heart goes out to you as you continue to fight your battle. I think that my own memory lapses were much kinder than yours since they were really hidden from me, where yours are somehow making themselves known to you. Fight your battle, accept yourself as you are, and know that your friends and family are sending a lot of love your way.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Warmth drives bicycle desire

It's October, and while the days are getting shorter the temperature has been climbing in a very non-fall-like manner. Saturday's high was in the 50s, yesterday's in the 60s, and today's was predicted to be in the high 70s. The sun was shining, and I decided that I needed (yes, needed!) to leave work a little early in order to get a good ride in this afternoon. I know that this nice warm weather is limited; in fact, it's more than possible that today will be the last of the warmth.

Home and ready to head out wearing shorts (no knee warmers!) and a sleeveless jersey, I checked the temperature one more time. It was a balmy 78 degrees, the sun was shining, and the sky was blue. Wonderful.

Riding on this warm and sunny afternoon made me happy - even though I was very aware of the season's swiftly setting sun. Some of the roads that I traveled were heavily wooded, and there was a big difference in the quality of light between those and the more open roads that my bicycle wheels followed. I was careful to be home well before sunset since the sun seems to be in a mode where it simply drops out of sight, no easing from light into darkness.

It was a good ride, and a good memory for those soon-to-come colder days.

Time for flannel

...flannel sheets, that is!

Today the people who think they know what the weather wizard is up to are forecasting a warm day with temperatures in the upper 70s, but it's been pretty chilly the past few nights. My bed was screaming for cold weather flannel sheets, so yesterday I gave in and switched from my summer knit sheets to my "rest of the year" flannel.

Ah, that was a nice warm sleep.

Interestingly enough, I had a conversation about sheets with Twyla, the hostess of the Guest-Lovitt B&B (in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia). She uses very nice cotton sheets on the B&B beds, but she and Bruce use fleece sheets on their own bed. I never knew that fleece sheets even existed, and I have to admit that sounds like an even cozier option than flannel. I might just have to try them this winter.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weekend sunshine

Morning temperatures clearly let me know that the season is changing, and that summer has slipped away from us. The changing colors manage to cement that knowledge.

It was a good weekend for riding, although I'm finding that I seem to have an end-of-riding-season boredom with the roads near home. Actually, I think it's a combination of that and an underlying desire to continue wandering new roads and exploring as I did during my recently completed vacation. I'm adjusting though, and I definitely took advantage of our sunny and warming days to comfortably wander on two wheels. The temperatures have been dropping quite low overnight (as in to the high 30s and low 40s!) so I have been waiting until after noon to head out on my bike. Call me a baby if you will, but I prefer to ride in warmer temperatures while I can.

Here's hoping that some semblance of warmth continues to grace our days for a while...

Ah, captured color!

A beautiful view in any season, shimmering water in sunshine

I find it amazing (or maybe I should say surprising) that it is very difficult to capture the colors that my eyes see - but this photo should give you an idea of the emerging colors.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

An addiction to chocolate

Yes, I am one of those people who is addicted to chocolate. As it turns out, it's not a terrible addiction to have as long as I can control the quantity. I discovered over the years that I am quite satisfied by a small piece of chocolate each day provided that it is dark chocolate and that it is what my taste buds consider to be a good quality chocolate.

As my bike and I were wandering in Nova Scotia, I often opted to skip dessert (after dinner) in favor of a chocolate bar. My level of activity when I'm touring supports a normal sized bar, but when I'm home, a small piece of chocolate will do the trick. Nova Scotia means Canada, which means a different choice of chocolates than I find at home, and I quickly became addicted to Cadbury Premium Dark Burnt Almond bars. My task on returning home was to search for these treats; unfortunately I found that they are not available here in the United States. I started my search on the Cadbury UK web site, which stated that "Cadbury products in the USA are manufactured and distributed under a franchise agreement by Hershey Chocolate USA". Hmmm... that means that Hershey has the "skill" to create good dark chocolate, not their usual fare. I looked a little further, and discovered a relatively new Hershey product, HERSHEY'S EXTRA DARK. As an added bonus, this treat comes in miniature bars as well as the standard large bars; one of the miniatures is the perfect size for my daily chocolate fix. I tried HERSHEY'S EXTRA DARK Cranberries, Blueberries, & Almonds - and wow! That's good, and my new chocolate favorite for when I'm home. I'll continue to seek out Cadbury Premium Dark Burnt Almond when I'm in Canada.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sunlight disappearing

I'm afraid my days of sneaking in a ride after work are quickly coming to an end as the sunset is jumping (not creeping) back in time. Today was a beautiful day for a ride though, with temperatures in the low 70s when I ventured out on two wheels. The colors are starting to jump out, with sections of trees that are painted red and orange and yellow, and other sections that remain green.

There was still plenty of light as I rolled home at the end of my relatively short ride, but the sun was dropping, and the daylight was only a short 20 minutes away from disappearing. I suppose that's a signal to me to get back into non-biking season exercise mode. I walk outside year-round, and I'll continue to ride on the weekends - but I think I hear the gym beckoning.

Patches of color...

...and a too early sunset. Beautiful.


An open letter to my brother Neal

Hey - welcome home! I'm so glad you feel well enough to move back into your own environment, complete with dog. I know that Zipper has missed you, and I bet that he was very happy to be out walking with you and Mom this afternoon. It must feel really good to be home...

I know that your battle goes on, and as always my love, good wishes, and thoughts of healing are winging their way to you.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A glimpse of Nova Scotia

Camera clicking away, capturing images and memories of western Nova Scotia and a little bit of Maine...

Back from Nova Scotia, looking at photos, sorting, throwing out, keeping... I've placed what I think are the best of the bunch in my photo galleries.

The photos are split into eight galleries, and I've included links to the actual galleries here just in case you want to go directly to a specific one:

Here's a sampling of photos from the galleries.

A glistening cobweb...

Shining water along the Lighthouse Route

And a chicken on Brier Island, clearly wondering what I was doing in her space

Did you really think I was riding a bicycle? I was, but Twyla & Bruce treated me to a ride around Yarmouth in their Model T. And no, I wasn't driving!

He's back

It was a good news day today. Or perhaps I should say it was a great news day...

Neal has emerged from the morass of confusion that has enveloped him for weeks. He is still battling a very serious disease, but the person we all know and love is with us once again. After seeing him in serious pain, and then in a state of confusion, this is a most welcome change. Add to that the prediction of the docs just two days ago that he was not likely to emerge from the delusional state that has been worsening over the past weeks, and his emergence is doubly sweet.

I'm trying not to lose sight of the fact that this is still a very real battle, but I'm very thankful that he is himself again. It was wonderful to talk to a real Neal today.

And Neal, I'm still sending love and healing wishes your way.