Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chasing the sun

Why is it that it always seems as though that giant orb in the sky is throwing brilliant colors across the clouds while I am driving my car as opposed to being in a safe place to stop and start snapping pictures?

I've been sorely tempted to pull over to the side of the road to absorb the beauty of both sunrise and sunset, but I've managed to control that urge. Stopping on an interstate highway when traffic is moving at a fast clip is not only a bad idea from a safety standpoint, it's also illegal. (And illegal enough to pay from both a ticket and an auto insurance standpoint if I attracted attention from the folks who patrol the roads...)

One place that seems like it would be an excellent vantage point is a high-flung entrance ramp to I-93. You're right though, I'm not going to stop there.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to predict the days that will have a memorable sunset? My camera and I would love that!

What were they thinking?

My work day ended, and I headed to the gym for an indoor workout before heading home. Stepping, feet moving on an elliptical trainer, focused on the news coming from the on-machine little television screen as a distraction...

It's not my habit to write about news events, but it's hard not to express shock at the guerrilla marketing tactics that caused quite a stir in Boston today. I suppose that Turner Broadcasting really got what the attention that they wanted - but not in a good way. I remember another marketing tactic a year or two ago where a company was painting their logo on sidewalks. They were stopped fairly quickly. While that (previous) painting activity was pollution of a sort, it wasn't something that caused the problems that were seen in Boston today. Let's see, an device that lights up to show a cartoon character but that just looks like a dark shape in the daylight, taped to bridge supports and buildings. Not smart. And honestly, I hope that Turner Broadcasting has to pay dearly for this stunt.

I supose you could say that I am overreacting (or that I am showing my age?), but I'm far from alone in my reaction. Here's an interesting Boston Globe editorial from the day after the event: paralyzed by a gimmick.

What were they thinking? Was there any serious thought to the possible consequences? Somehow I really doubt that a lot of thought went into this...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Weather wizard wonders

What a difference a day makes! Today was a wonderful gift from the weather wizard, made even more so by the contrast to yesterday's cold.

I woke to an early morning chill, and the view of a light blanket of white. The temperature was on an upward swing, and by noon it was above freezing. What a difference - from 18 degrees when I started my ride yesterday to 35 degrees today. I was wearing much less clothing, and there wasn't any question about whether I'd be warm enough. In fact, I probably could have removed one more layer.

Relative warmth, two wheels rolling, seeking dry pavement. Rolling, enjoying the feeling, dreaming...

Wow, what a day!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Two wheels rolling

...on a cold winter's day

The thermometer seemed to be stuck in the teens. I pushed my desire to ride to the back of my mind, and I headed out on two feet, walking. It was a cold, gray day, but the pavement was dry, and although the wind was blowing, it didn't seem too strong. Walking, walking... I was just 10 minutes away from home when I realized that in spite of the temperature I was "toasty" warm. I could hear my bikes calling, insisting that a ride was in order. I listened, feet still moving, quickly turning towards home.

I switched some layers, adding bike shorts and knee warmers under my fuzzy warm tights, grabbing a heavier vest instead of the light one I was wearing as an extra insulating layer, and sticking toe warmers to the bottom of my socks. Tires pumped to an appropriate pressure, Gatorade on board, and it was time to roll.

It was a good ride... no, actually it was a great ride! 18 miles in 18 degrees, it was a new record for me in terms of low temperatures and riding. I'm very comfortable riding with temperatures in the 30s, and I've ventured out in the high 20s before, but the teens? No way! I'm so glad I won that argument with myself today though. Dressed in layers and layers and layers, and with ice forming in my Gatorade during my ride, I had a very enjoyable and pretty much comfortable wander on my bike. (Well, comfortable except for my fingers... I wore a pair of mittens that are multi-layer and pretty warm, but I think I needed another layer. Actually, maybe I needed hand warmers. Next time...)

It's funny, not one but two people told me I was crazy to ride in today's temperatures. But think about it - people ski in these temperatures. What's different about biking other than the fact that most people think of it as a warm weather sport?

Layers and layers and more layers...

A happy cyclist, and still mostly warm after my 18 degrees 18 miles ride.

A morning gift

A glimpse through the window at precisely the right moment gave me a view of clouds painted pink as the day transitioned from dark to light.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Flickers of light, magic

It was a cold evening, but not as cold as the cold predicted for tomorrow, temperature edging down with just a little bit of wind to add some additional chill. Exercise selection for tonight wavered between the warm gym and walking in the relative cold of a clear winter's night. My choice - of course - was walking outside.

Flickers ahead... I was walking down a road highlighted with round pools of light cast by the occasional tall streetlight. Small plants, groundcover, hovered at the edges of the light. Light wind blowing...

My eyes were drawn to the (almost) darkness on the ground. I saw a sparkle, a flicker of light. What is that? It almost looks as if someone left a strand of tiny flashing lights along the edges of the darkness. No, that light is nature-made with the assistance of the creeping circle of streetlamp light.

Ice-covered leaves covered in ice moved in the wind, catching the light, flickering, flashing sparkles of yellow-orange, jumping out to catch my eye...

Goose-prints in the snow

Visions from a mid-day walk...

Canada Geese walking, exploring, eating grass from a winter-cold but (almost) snow-free field...

If we call the image created by our feet "footprints", should the image of the webbed foot of a Canada Goose in the snow be called a goose-print?

...goose-prints in the snow

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Who's looking?

...and does it really matter?

Well, it probably doesn't matter, but it satisfies my curiosity. I can see raw hit numbers on my crazyguyonabike journals, and on my smugmug galleries, but I've always wondered about the activity levels of my blog.

I recently heard about Google Analytics and decided it was worth a try. It's interesting to see how people are finding my sites (through a link or direct, and if from a link, which site?). And even more, where in the world were the connections made?

Curiosity somewhat satisfied, for now!

Where is it that you and your computer live?

Image courtesy of Google Analytics, showing access to my smugmug galleries.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hey! What just grabbed me?

Temperatures rose into the low 30's today. With the forecast for extreme cold later in the week, it cried out to be a walking day (or should I say a walking evening?).

Home, dressed in layers, I headed out. Walking on a crisp evening, traversing mainly dry pavement with some traces of ice and remnants of last night's teasing bit of snow. The roads were quiet, dark with scattered muted pools of lighter surface, decorated by the reflection from the occasional street light.

Walking, quiet, fast walking...

Hey! What was that? All of a sudden, something grabbed my leg! My first thought was that it was an animal, but I didn't hear anything. Something grabbed my leg. And then it let me go.

At first I kept walking, but after a very short period of time, I knew that I had to stop and go back. I needed to know what it was. The answer? A jagged branch, with a Y-shaped notch in it. Not heavy. I must have stepped on it in a way that made it come to life. It flipped up behind me and wrapped itself around my leg. Then as I continued walking, it fell to the ground once more, ready to startle the next unsuspecting walker.


Ah, the end of the workday, time to listen to NPR's "All Things Considered" as my car rolled between work and home. Today was a SoundClips day, absolutely wonderful...

Today's short treat was titled "Dropping Things in a Well to Hear Them". The creators of the piece recorded the sounds made as they dropped rocks and sticks (and other things too) down a long-abandoned well in the woods. What a fabulous collection of sounds.

Curious? You can hear it too, listen!

If you've never heard SoundClips before, click here for a list of SoundClips: Audio Experiences.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Outside inside

Some days are just meant to be complaining days...

Brrr... it's cold, both outside & in. After a weekend cold & windy enough to keep my bicycles off of the road, I headed to the office today expecting normal indoor temperatures. And it was cold!

In the morning, we thought it was because of the cold weekend and the fact that the thermostats in the office aren't set for warmth on the days when there are no planned occupants. That wasn't it though; the office was cold enough that most of us had our outside jackets draped over our shoulders all day long. By the time I headed home at the end of the work day, a little bit of warmth seemed to be seeping in. Or maybe I was finally accustomed to the cold.

Sitting inside in lower than desired temperatures slapped me in the face with the knowledge of how lucky I am, how spoiled we are to live and work in an environment that (normally) is comfortable.

See, I told you it was a complaining kind of day.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A disappearing day

The minutes and hours flew by as I spent the day glued to my computer...

Cold temperatures and wind kept me inside for most of the weekend, although I did manage to escape for a while on both days for a voyage by foot (sans camera).

I've been thinking about customizing my photo gallery for a while; this seemed like the right day to start that process. My day started in the early morning, a breakfast interlude accompanied by the Sunday paper. Then I perched in front of my computer and started to play. It was about 9 AM when I started my computer conversation. The first time I was conscious of looking up, it was already 1 PM, and the next time the time had jumped to 2:30. Where did the time go?

It was a learning kind of experience, experimenting with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for the first time, starting to make changes, dreaming of the end-point, and of course getting side-tracked too. Today was limited to basic changes, like adding my own banner and changing the color scheme from black to white. Yes, it did blow my mind that those simple changes took so much time. Hopefully as I continue to move forward with more changes my learning curve will become shorter and more shallow.

To see the changes, or to wander through my galleries, click

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter contrasts

Brr... cold! It feels like winter, which shouldn't be too surprising since it is winter. A short walk in mid-afternoon gave my camera a chance to play, to capture (separately) ice, and the remains of a warmer weather seed pod.

At the end of my work day, I gave in to my desire to exercise in the (overly) crisp outside air. My eyes registered a noticeable change in the light at the end of the day. Sunset has been quietly creeping later, and as my feet happily moved into walking mode at just after 5 PM, I noticed that the sky had not reached its full dark condition yet. The horizon was still glowing with the orange colors of sunset, highlighted even more by the deep blue shades above that were edging ever darker.

Differences, contrasts... here are two photos that appear to come from two seasons - each shot within a 10 minute walk of the other.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


A kaleidoscope, continually shifting patterns...

After someone asked me if I had any new photos, it hit me that it can be difficult for a reader to quickly find new items in my world of web postings - even though I frequently link from my blog to new photos, photo galleries, or journals. I initially created my web site as a gathering location, a place to link outwards in a (spider) web to my photo galleries and to the journals that I write as I wander on my bike.

Ah, I see that I need a new page to highlight new pieces of my web persona. That page needs to change frequently, reflecting life's kaleidoscope - continually shifting patterns, changing, evolving. My goal is to make sure that my kaleidoscope is ever changing.

Visit today's kaleidoscope.

shh... can you hear that?

Tink, click, clink. Tink, tink...

My feet headed out walking tonight, taking the rest of my body with them, braving the cold and the wind. While the road surfaces and sidewalks remained pristine (as in dry and not icy), fences and rock walls wore a shiny coating of ice. Yesterday's rain was just that, water in the form of rain - but the temperature today dropped degree by degree all day long. It was in the 30s in the morning, but by the end of my work day (and the start of my walk) the thermometer had edged into the low 20s, down, down, down.

Heading down a quiet dark road... hey, what's that I hear? Feet stop, ears listen. Out of the quiet night, sounds were coming from a tree. Tink, click, clink. Tink, tink... An ice-covered branch was moving in the wind, quietly "talking".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rain, cold...

Temperatures hovering just above the freezing point, rain, more rain, under a gray, gray sky. Walking, sheltered by an umbrella, watching raindrops falling, decorating branches...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

29 degrees, mist, ice

The pavement was dry when I woke at 6 this morning, but that didn't last too long. Let's see, 29 degrees, heavy mist, and very wet pavement - that means that today is a walking (and not a biking) day.

Brrr... dressed in layers, moving quickly, I warmed up in no time at all. Surprisingly the ground was just wet, with just one square of icy sidewalk passing under my feet. I suspect that there had been a puddle there before the freezing temperatures hit since all of the other surfaces were simply wet, despite the below freezing temperature.

There was water in the air, not raindrops but very heavy mist. It was heavy enough that it was visible, and I was very glad to be wearing a good rain jacket. Droplets of water gathered on my jacket's surface, but it remained dry and warm inside.

As I walked, my eyes picked out things that I wanted to photograph: a (very early) forsythia bloom, ice droplets on plants (that I initially thought were water). After my walk, I grabbed my SLR, switched to the macro lens, and headed out again with an assist from my fossil-fueled vehicle to try to catch some photos.

I didn't feel that I needed to repeat my walk, and more than that I wanted to protect my camera from the water in the air. Walking in the mist a second time just didn't seem necessary.
Water droplets? No, ice!

Yes, it really is January. I think this forsythia is confused; I was very surprised to see several open flowers. I also saw some other types of bushes clad with new buds. The buds and these bright yellow flowers decorating plants in mid-January make me wonder what our spring will be like this year.

Simple beauty, ice crystals clinging to plants beyond the end of their (alive) season

A few more photos from my macro lens playing today can be found on page 5 of my Between the edges of daylight photo gallery.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Miles? No, kilometers!

Somehow I always expect the distances shown on highway signs to be correct. I was driving on 128 (I-95) this afternoon, when a sign jumped into my consciousness: Dedham --- 9

What? I was sure it wasn't that far, so I quickly noted the mileage on my odometer. Distance to the Dedham exit? According to my car, it was 5.5 miles, not 9. Let's see, 9 kilometers * 0.62 miles / kilometer = 5.58 miles. Ah, the sign - in this county that insists on not using the metric system - was in kilometers, not the miles that are normally shown on signs here.

I really wish that we used the same measurement system as most of the rest of the world. But we don't, and it is more than a bit disconcerting to be in a country that doesn't use the metric system and have the distance on a road sign shown as just a number where that number happens to be kilometers. Yes, I know, it is just a mistake. I remember some newspaper articles about these distance to town signs when they were first erected. I just assumed that the error would have been corrected by now, but it appears that I was wrong. I feel for the strangers who are trying to navigate here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Skeleton of a summer flower

Another non-January January day... blue sky decorating a warm day, dried husks of summer flowers waving in the breeze.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Water in another form

A cold day, temperatures below freezing, crystals and clear pockets of ice have formed in what had been puddles, beauty...


Stumbling across new words can be fun, and for some reason chimerical jumped out at me today. Tell me, is it a bad thing if something is imaginary? Can chimerical dreams turn into reality? I think they can; after all, some of my winter dreams of riding seem to magically turn themselves into traveling vacations...

From's Word of the Day Archive:

chimerical \ky-MER-ih-kuhl; -MIR-; kih-\, adjective:
  1. Merely imaginary; produced by or as if by a wildly fanciful imagination; fantastic; improbable or unrealistic.
  2. Given to or indulging in unrealistic fantasies or fantastic schemes.

And from the glossary of Oxford University Press's Classical Mythology:
Today a chimera is a fantastic delusion, an illusory creation of the mind, or a hybrid organism, usually a plant. Chimerical and chimeric designate something as unreal, imaginary, or fantastic. These adjectives can also signify that one is given to fantasy.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shifting shapes

A brilliant blue sky provides a beautiful backdrop for clouds, moving and changing shapes, driven by a strong wind.

In an attempt to capture some of the beauty, I've started a new photo gallery for my pictures of the sky. My camera is insisting on having a steady presence in my life; as atmospheric conditions and camera availability allow, I will continue to add photos to my Sky paintings gallery.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Light progression

Gray, wet, wet, very dark gray... it was one of those days when the rain never seemed to stop until late in the afternoon. At 3:30, the window by my desk turned into a magnet, pulling me to stand next to it. That felt like the darkest moment of the day (from a sunlight perspective, that is). It almost seemed as if the sun was already down, even though the sun wasn't expected to set until 4:29. Dark gray sky, wet ground, but there was no more water coming from the sky.

The wind moved the heavy clouds, and patches of blue started to appear. And then the sun set and colored the sky...

Photo progression: the first photo above was shot at 4:13, and the other two were both taken at 4:32, the first while I was facing south, and the other while looking to the east.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sparkling light, visiting...

...with animals!

Blue skies decorated a day that was 20 degrees cooler than yesterday - but temperatures in the mid 40s meant that it was still warmer than a normal January day. Another good day for riding, and for absorbing the sights around me...

I was only a few miles from home in a neighborhood that was mainly residential when these alpacas popped into sight. Although there is a farm with horses a little further down the road, I had never noticed this pasture in a space between houses before. A prize for the day - a conversation with alpacas!
I thought they were llamas, but someone who knows animals looked at this photo and told me that she believes they are alpacas.

Sun, reflections, beauty... the reflections of the sun sparkling on the water drew my eye (and my camera too).
Yes, I do know that common photography wisdom recommends that a camera should not be aimed directly at the sun, but I had to try to capture the sparkles!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Is it really January? it? Really? Are you absolutely sure?

I awoke to a wet but very warm day. It was 62 degrees at 6:30 AM, unheard of for this time of year. Early morning dark gray skies leaking water eventually cleared to blue with white clouds forming patterns driven by the wind.

Ah, time to ride... It was 68 degrees when my bike and I rolled away from home, warm enough for summer riding attire. And windy! The wind never stopped, sometimes pushing me along, sometimes slowing my progress. But - I was so happy with the warmth that the presence of the strong wind didn't bother me at all. I was quite happy with the (unseasonal) 44 miles that rolled beneath my wheels today.

Even now as I sit in my house I can hear the wind blowing.

What a fabulous day for playing outside!

Rolling down the road during a sunny part of my ride. I find it amazing how far my shadow reaches. This picture was taken early in the afternoon when my shadow was still relatively short. At the end of my ride at just about 4 PM, I noticed that my shadow crossed four lanes of traffic. Unfortunately just after I saw that huge shadow, I moved into a totally shaded area. No photo!

The sky was absolutely amazing today.

Reflection games. And no, the photo is not upside down!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gray days, beauty

Walking in warmth once more, accompanied by a camera... Images cry out to be saved for viewing on a cold day, memories of flowers.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Conversations with geese

Warm temperatures tempted me once more. Early afternoon was a time for a walking break from "at my desk" thinking, working.

Outside, soaking in warmth, walking... I stopped to chat with a flock of Canada Geese who were happily walking around a nearby field, munching on grass (or something hidden in the grass).

After a quick "conversation", I continued my walk, leaving the geese in peace. As I looped back to my starting point, I was treated by the sound of geese honking, the sight of V's of geese flying low overhead.

You're not coming any closer, are you? We'll walk a little further away, just in case.

Look at our footprints! We have big feet, don't we?

That two-legged no-winged creature doesn't seem to be coming any closer. I guess it's safe to stop and munch some more.

My computer is calling - time to head back to work...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winter warmth... very welcome in my world!

Is it really January in New England? The temperatures this week don't seem to support that fact, although that's absolutely not a complaint from me. Walking in the sun in the middle of the day, I noticed flowers showing a very early growth spurt. Green leaves were appearing, signifying buds to come. Ah plants, you probably need to go back to your winter sleep and save those flowers for the real spring. While this week is predicted to remain unseasonably warm, it is more than likely that this treat of warmth will only be here for a short time.

To accentuate the warmth of the afternoon, the wind was absolutely howling. I'm glad my movement was via foot; it would have been very hard to keep a bicycle moving in a straight line.

Walking, then back to work for a while...

As I headed home, I felt like I was chasing the setting sun. The bright orange globe was sinking, coloring the clouds, forming highlights against a deep blue sky. It was a beautiful end to today's daylight.

Mid-day rejuvenation by means of a quick walk, sunshine, warm temperatures, January green grass, and WIND!

The setting sun teased me as I drove home from work, dropping color against a blue backdrop. Ah, home in time to catch some color with my camera...

Monday, January 01, 2007

A quiet entry to the year

Quiet, gray, wet, walking in the rain, rain receding, home again, relaxing, reading, dreaming...

I could complain about the gray and wet day that greeted me this morning, but it was a welcome day for resting and relaxing. Oh, you're absolutely right that I didn't sit still all day. My quiet at-home time surrounded a long walk in the rain. Walking togs topped with a serious rain hat and my biking rain jacket kept me warm and dry, in spite of the ever-present water falling from the sky. And the good thing about today's rain is that it has cleaned the remaining snow off of the roads, setting them up for cycling once again.

Wishes for a good year, for friendship, and for health are winging their way from me to you. From good dreams to a new reality...