Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Computer arrives
Power, speed, brilliant colors
Awesome, happy, sweet!

It took me long enough! I've known that it was time for a new computer since late last year, but the impending release of Vista made me wait. Yes, I could have figured out how much computer I needed to support Vista in that timeframe, but I decided to wait until the operating system had been out for a little while. Last week I finally came to my senses, spent some time pouring over features, and ordered my new computer. Honestly, I didn't expect to see it for another week, but it clearly wanted to join my household; it arrived today.

Funny... it came with Google Desktop installed and running. I thought about turning it off, but wait! One of the first sites that I visited was my photo gallery - I wanted to get a sense of the quality of the screen (and it truly is awesome). Then I did a double-take. There was a small square flitting through photos on the right edge of the screen, and I saw a picture of myself there - and I haven't yet copied any of my photos onto the computer. What! It turns out that the Google Desktop Photos gadget watches as you surf web sites and picks up photos from visited sites. For now, I've stopped it from adding more photo sites; I'd like some control over what randomly jumps into my eyes. What an interesting gadget! It definitely brought a smile to myself (as if I didn't already have overflowing smiles from just playing with my new toy! (For those of you who aren't running Vista, this isn't a Vista feature but a Google desktop feature.)

Oh, you want to know what I bought? A Dell laptop, an Inspiron with a 17" TrueLife glossy widescreen display. The display size was the source of one of my arguments with myself; I kept flipping between the 15.4" and 17.1" display. But really, it's the quality of the display that blows me away.

Thanks for listening... I just had to share my excitement about my new toy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New blooms still emerging... your eyes and see the amazing flowers!

Can you see the tiny red bug?

I was beginning to wonder when the iris would appear...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Images captured as I traveled... Portsmouth and back again

More photos are available in my gallery Feeding an addiction, May 2007.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Feeding an addiction

An addiction to what? You didn't guess already? I'm addicted to traveling on my bike, and I'm addicted to playing with my camera.

And it's time for a quick escape. I'll be wandering from home to Portsmouth and back again on my bicycle, camera close at hand. You can follow my wanderings in my journal Feeding an addiction.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Lots of photos? backups...

I had somewhat of a rude awakening yesterday when I found that one of the external drives that I use to backup my precious computer files was misbehaving. I/O errors, ouch!

I’ve wanted a copy of my files offsite (as in not at home) for a while. I’ve been using 2 external drives, keeping one at home, with the intent on keeping the second drive at my office. Sometimes that happens, but more often it doesn’t. So I've had two backup disks, but both have been in the same physical location. That's not really too smart, is it?

I recently became aware of Amazon S3 (also known as Simple Storage Service). Files stored on S3 are kept in multiple physical locations. And it's an offsite (away from home!) storage location, with no need for me to carry disks anywhere. I'm sold, now all I need to do is get my files copied.

File copies are in progress, and I'm relieved!

If you're interested, here's a link to Amazon S3.

In addition to S3, you will need a product to drive the backup process. I'm currently using a tool called Jungle Disk. There are others available as well.


Off the grid!

I arrived at the office this morning to find a long line of vehicles on the road in front of the building. Power company trucks, trailers containing generators, police cars... lots of vehicles.

It turns out that there was an explosion in a switch that removed the power from two office buildings and from the Marriott Hotel across the street. And yet with emergency resources (in the form of movable generators) we had full power and the ability to work today.

Power is something we take for granted, as in it's just there. But sometimes it's not...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Quiet, wet!

Wet, wet, where's the sun?
April showers, May flowers
It's May, still raining!

I hear a clamor from the garage; my bicycles want to ride. So do I, but I'd much prefer riding down dry roads. And after my bicycles peeked out at the rain, they agreed with me that today wasn't a riding day.

As it turns out I was just plain lucky. Mid-morning, the roads were wet but getting drier, the sky was a lighter shade of gray, no rain was falling. It looked like a reasonable time to get out for a quick ride. I pumped the tires, dressed in cycling attire, and opened the door to find that the sky had turned a dark shade of gray. As I stood there, it started pouring once more. I guess I'm glad I was a little slow getting started because if I had been moving faster I would have been caught on my bike in that downpour. Yes, I know, it's more than possible to ride in the rain - but I'd really prefer not to. And it totally trashes the bike.

I went back to my inside activities for a while, waiting for the deluge to get a bit lighter. Still wet... somehow I don't mind walking in the rain as much as riding. Walking, rainy walking, deep gray skies lightened as I wandered. The sky was still leaking rain as I arrived home again.

It's been gray for days now, but a change is coming. By late afternoon, the gray clouds scattered, leaving a blue sky decorated with white. End of the day sunshine, amazing...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


...I'm just too hard on myself. Is that a surprise to anyone but me? No, I didn't think so!

What started this? Well, it was last week's rides. I managed two days of commuting to work, one short after-work ride, and two weekend rides, 28 miles on Saturday and 30 on Sunday. That was a total of 155 miles, which is respectable mileage given that it is still really early in the riding season. But - I finished my ride on Sunday wondering why I didn't have the desire to take a longer ride. Thirty miles seemed right for the day, but shouldn't 40 or 50 feel right? Apparently not yet...

Yes, I am talking to myself here...
Hey Denise - it's just nearing mid-May. It's still early; you can't emerge from winter and this year's slow return to warmth and dry pavement with 40 to 60 mile weekend rides on top of increased commuting mileage. You really need to accept the fact that it takes a while to work up to your summer mileage.
OK, end of self-lecture!

My bicycles jump into my life often, for multiple purposes (but you already knew that, didn't you?). I ride year-round for exercise, shorter rides in the colder weather, leading to longer rides in the comfortable spring to summer to fall months. But another "e" word comes into play here too - enjoyment. I truly enjoy riding, moving quietly, looking around me, absorbing the beauty, laughing at animals, rolling down the road.

From spring until the end of summer - while longer days supply full daylight - I try to commute to work by bike several days a week. My bike is my transportation, and the switch from motorized to self-propelled transit is enough to keep me from getting bored by my repeating ride, covering the same territory over and over again.

Touring, using my bike to go places (for longer than a day), wandering, looking to see, looking to play with my camera - that's another important use of my bicycle. And my biggest problem with my touring habit is picking the places to visit. That's really not a problem; instead it's a process of dreaming, tossing ideas up in the air, and finally catching one of those ideas as a destination.

It's the short rides around home that are getting to me. I know that I need to accept that it is early in the riding season. The longer rides will come, supported by my always improving fitness level as well as the desire to wander further from home. Oh, and that 4-wheeled motorized vehicle hanging out in the garage tells me that she is ready to give me and my bike a lift to new riding territory to help prevent boredom.

Now I just need to get moving on planning a biking and camera vacation. Having a trip to look forward to helps keep me happily looking forward.

Oh, you want to know why I am writing at 6 in the morning? Well, I believed the weather forecast posted last night that showed that today would be a good day to ride to work. Oops! The forecast changed, and there are water droplets coming from the sky... musing time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ferns emerging

Transformations continue...

I've been watching ferns unfurl this spring, beauty in motion.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Canopy of green

Spring has been edging in for what seems like a long time, but the images of bare tree branches against the sky continued. And then, and then... a canopy of green appeared, tree skeletons giving way to trees clad in green.

It seemed to happen overnight. Beautiful, shades of green...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Crack, flash!

Early evening, home, a quick look at the sky convinced me that it was a good day for walking.

Just above me, puffy white clouds floated against a background of bright blue, but as I looked to the north I saw a darkening sky. Walking, hot, sweat rolling, listening, looking...

Crash... crack! The quiet surrounding me was interrupted by the sounds of a storm. Flash! Apparent cloud to ground lightening decorated the gray clouds ahead.

A storm can be a thing of beauty, can't it?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

1000 miles

Bicycle wheels rolling, miles multiplying, first thousand down...

Somehow the first thousand miles of the year seems to come quite slowly. I know it's because my riding during winter and winter-into-spring is very weather dependent; even though my tolerance for riding in cold weather has increased, my desire to ride through wet has not. Last year I crossed that threshold the earliest ever - on April 30th. Given our wacky spring this year, I'm quite happy with crossing the 1000-mile line this morning.

I was rewarded by a slight change to my route this morning. As I was wandering through some quiet neighborhood streets early in my commute, a little brown rabbit hopped in front of me, quickly and safely traversing the pavement between stretches of grass and brush. Thanks little rabbit, that was a nice morning smile.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blackberry delight

Berries, wondrous tiny bundles of flavor...

Strawberries are a staple in my kitchen, at least when they smell good (looks aren't enough!) and their price is somewhat reasonable. The "season" seems to have morphed into three seasons since it now seems that there are only a few months when I need to live without strawberries.

Blueberries wander through my kitchen for at least a month each year - maybe two... I had extended access to blueberries this year because I treated myself to ten pounds of wild Maine blueberries on my way home from my Nova Scotia wanderings last fall. Yes, they were frozen, but what a treat they have been. Oat bran cereal topped with wild blueberries, yum!

But there are other berries too, the more fragile berries that taste wonderful and that are not available as often. Raspberries, blackberries, both are a real treat. And that leads to my story...

Late on Saturday I stopped by the grocery store because I needed milk and bananas. The milk came home with me, but somehow I forgot the bananas. How (why) did I forget? Looking back, I think that my forgetfulness was meant to happen. I returned to the store on Sunday on my way home from visiting the mute swans. My shopping target - bananas and out! Needless to say, that didn't happen after I walked in to see blackberries, usually $2.99, selling for 99 cents. Wow! I splurged on two containers - and what a treat! Blackberries, plump, juicy, sweet - and the long trip from Mexico didn't seem to take anything away from the wonderful taste. And yes, I remembered the bananas too.

Ah, the riches of having fresh strawberries and blackberries and bananas - a feast, a taste delight!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Calming, birds, ocean

Do you ever have moody days for no apparent reason? I don't have them very often, but today was one of those days, I was in a bit of a funk...

Why? That's a bit of a mystery. Maybe I'm letting the cool spring weather (when I yearn for warmth) get to me... Maybe it's thoughts of my brother... Maybe it's the fact that I haven't yet settled on a vacation for this year... Maybe it's... well, I probably don't need to continue. You get the point don't you?

Even with my funky, moody start, it turned out to be a good day. I knew I needed a little bit of a change, but I also knew that I needed to ride. So I started my "don't sit at home" day with a chilly morning ride. It's actually quite easy to dress for riding when the temperature is hovering in the mid-40s (even when I wanted it to be a good 10 to 15 degrees warmer).

Wearing warm layers, rolling down the road, loops, heading in different directions on a whim, moving, relaxing...

Home; it was time for dry clothes and a quick bite to eat before I headed out again. My camera jumped into my hand, and I headed to the coast. Walking by the ocean and visiting with the birds sounded like a good idea.

It was an afternoon of good timing. Just as I pulled up to the marshy area where I've seen the mute swans before, a pair of these great white birds pulled in close to shore. Ah, that's a good starting point.

I visited with the mute swans from afar for a while. After all, they are big birds that need their own space. I watched, quietly crouching by the edge of the road, not to close, but close enough. The birds came closer, then they moved on. It was time for me to wander over to the ocean side of the road, to walk on the beach for a while.

Back to the seasonal home (hang-out?) of the mute swans. Oh look, a pair of birds are paddling to the north, and there's a single mute swan down at the southern end of the marshy area. I've never seen more than two of these great birds here before. I started to walk in the direction of the single bird, stopping to take in the beautiful scene.

A woman bearing a (serious) camera and a big plastic jar of dried corn neared the edge of the water. She called to the single mute swan - Snort! Snort! (And no, she wasn't making funny sounds; that's his name!) She came closer, and we started talking. Ann and I have met before, early in 2006 - actually the first time that I met these marvelous birds. She is a photographer specializing in birds and wildlife; talking with her was fascinating. I love learning about the creatures around us. Unfortunately she told me that Snort lost his lifelong mate this year; that's sad. He was clearly staking out his territory, protecting the corn that Ann dropped in the water for him, indicating to some wandering ducks that this was his space. Ann says that he is more likely to come close when she is alone, but as we sat on the ground (in an attempt to minimize our human presence), Snort ventured closer, floating, paddling, helping himself to corn. Hey Snort, I'll be back again someday. I hope that you'll be here to greet me.

Hey - what are you? Why are you on land? Can you walk on water?

Paddling with one foot is a great trick, isn't it?

Look, there's water dripping from my foot! I wonder why...

Yes, there absolutely are more pictures! If you're interested, you can view them in my gallery Mute swans roaming, May 2007.

Visions of the ocean at high tide, calming small waves, sea gulls soaring, wading, playing... Quiet non-ocean waters, ducks, more sea gulls, mute swans, floating, paddling...

Escaping to the sea was a good tonic for me today.


There are days when looking at the calendar brings a smile to my face. Today was one of those days, a day of sequential date components.

What do I mean? The date today is 5/6/7. That is, the date here, in a country that insists on using a date format of "month / day / year". We are 5 years into a cycle of 12 years when there will be one day in the year with a "sequential date".

In the rest of the world, 5/6/7 will happen next month (" day, month, year") and today was 6/5/7.

Isn't it odd how things like this often slide right by without notice? Sometimes they jump right out at me, and sometimes they don't...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Visions from a bicycle seat

Cool but warming temperatures, sunshine, dry roads... my bicycle was calling, time to ride!

I had to keep stopping though, to capture a few of the beautiful sights that jumped out at me... a horse that stopped munching on grass to walk up to the fence and greet a strange creature quietly rolling by on two wheels, flowers that spoke in vibrant colors, visions...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Warming sunshine

Cool morning, sunshine, warmth sneaking in...

Last night I prepared to ride to work this morning, just in case the temperature decided to cooperate. Morning came too early, signaled by my buzzing alarm. Ah, time to check outside; how cold is it? 40 degrees. That's chilly, but... if it had been 38 or 39 I would have thought more than twice about riding in, but 40? OK, OK, I still remember how to dress for that level of chill, and it was supposed to be 70 by the end of the day. Yes bicycle, it's time to ride!

Layers made my cool morning ride comfortable, and the weather wizard provided some warming for my afternoon ride. 40 degrees in the morning, 65 in the afternoon - that's quite a range, but it was easily handled with the right layers.

Swirling winds from the northwest made my ride home interesting. My bike was pointed to the north and east for most of the ride, but a couple of loops south and then north again gave me the gift of an absolute headwind for a while. Sometimes I felt like I was moving forward so slowly that I must have been standing still.

It makes me wonder if anyone has figured out how to ensure a tailwind all of the time. No? I didn't think so. And yes, I'm just allowing some silliness to creep in to my day!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Thoughts and wishes...

...for comfort, for slowing disease, for life

Thoughts of my brother, his life, and his battle with cancer are never far away. How can it be that there seems to be nothing I can do to change (improve?) his progress through life? Good thoughts, healing wishes, do they mean anything at all?

Thoughts don't stop tears from welling in my eyes when I think about what he is going through. For whatever it's worth, healing thoughts are still flowing from me to my brother...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Soft, green

Silhouettes of trees are softening, starting to show a halo in soft shades of green. A continuing sign of the emerging spring season...

While there are still totally bare trees, early leaves have started to emerge on some. It's almost as if the transformation happened overnight; it jumped out at me as I rolled down the road late this afternoon.