Denise Goldberg's blog

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New photos?

It's a relatively slow time of year for my camera. It still jumps out to play on a fairly regular basis, but fewer hours of daylight, wet, and cold all convince my camera that staying home is better...

I'm still snapping pictures, and I'm still publishing selected images in my galleries. My Kaleidoscope page highlights the most recent galleries, but it just occurred to me that it might be a good thing to point out a way to see the most recent photos. There is a feeds button at the bottom of the entry page to my galleries, and I've just added a Recent photos link to this blog - it's at the top of the list of links shown to the right of this text, and it will show you my 50 most recent photos.

For a preview, click Recent photos.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A tale of two shoes

...well really, a tale of two pairs of shoes.

This morning's sky was full of gray and white - gray clouds, white flakes, light snow. Exercise, a good day for walking... I headed out, feet clad in their normal running shoes, crunching through snow. Surprisingly enough, it really wasn't slippery. It took about a quarter of a mile for me to realize that the snow and my shoes weren't a good match. There's an indentation in the heel that was quickly filling with snow; I felt like I was walking on snow balls.

Ah, a quick reverse, home again to switch to my hiking shoes. That was a big improvement, and I happily continued my waltz through the snowflakes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Teeny to immense...

Finally! The name of my employer is no longer a secret.

For the past 5+ years I've worked for a very small software company. Change has been in the air for the last little bit, a deep secret, something that I wasn't at liberty to discuss outside of work. It's finally public, and I can tell you that I no longer work for a teeny tiny company (one that most of you had never heard of); instead, I have become part of a rather well-known company. It's time to play (OK, to work) within a new 'space'.

Where do I work now? The news quickly spread through the business press yesterday; in case you haven't seen it yet, read this!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A robin greeting

Morning, sunshine, cold...

I was sitting with a cup of strong, hot tea, enjoying the morning. Chirp! chirp! robins calling. I looked out to see a tree full of birds, sitting, flying. On the off chance that these cheerful birds might consent to pose for me, I threw a coat over my bathrobe, a hat over my sleep-mussed hair, a long lens on my camera, and I quietly walked out of the house.

The robins stayed high in the trees, sitting for a short amount of time, chirping, then flying. What a nice way to greet the day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Snow, then heavy rain...

Based on the amount of rain we had Thursday night into Friday, I thought the snow would be gone. It's not, and ice remains too, forming patterns colored by the shadows of fallen leaves.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Two feet walking, no sliding

Pouring rain early gave way to a dry, sunny day and what appeared to be good walking conditions. Happy...

I headed out in the early evening, and very quickly found deception. The ground that I thought was dry was sometimes covered in a skim coat of ice. The air temperature was above freezing, but the ground was apparently just on the edge. Ah, those dark patches? Ice, slippery!

When I walk after dark I wear lights to be seen, but I don't wear lights to see. Hmmm... tonight, lights to see might have been a good addition.

Once I realized that the patches of ice were just waiting for me, I paid more attention to my path along the side of the road. I managed to stay upright, no ground hugging falls today. Was that pure luck?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A canopy of white

Snow still decorates the trees. As I drove to work this morning, I passed through a canopy of trees, off-season bare branches covered in a layer of white, sparkling against a brightening blue sky.

I am always surprised when a light fluffy snow accumulates on branches and stays for a while. When the snow is wet, I expect it to stick, but dry? I suppose calm air and relatively cold temperatures preserves the snow for a while. I thought that the trees would be bare again by now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow fog

Ah, morning, time to look outside to see what gifts the weather wizard has provided for the day. First look... as I glimpsed outside the sky was getting lighter as the sun crept up and over the horizon. The morning greeted me with overwhelming white. It was snow fog!

No, I didn't make up that term. I smiled when I checked the National Weather Service web site this morning. It presented the forecast (for more snow) along with the current condition: snow fog.

Word play amuses me, and somehow this combination of words brought back a memory of my bicycling trip to Ireland.

I took a train out of Londonderry, and I needed two tickets - one for me, and one for my BIKE DOG. Let's see, did I pay for that ticket for my bike, or for Rover, the little red (stuffed) dog who joins me as I travel?

And today? The fog dispersed fairly early, but the snow kept falling. From snow fog to just plain snow...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ocean fascination

There’s snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, but today was almost warm – in the high 30s – and dry. I headed to the New Hampshire coast, hoping to convince some sea gulls that they should pose for me. The tide was very high though, so the birds weren’t prancing on the beach. The ocean cooperated.

I walked along the edge of the water where there was barely enough sand for my footsteps, cutting across rocks and heading down the road when the beach disappeared.

Walking, watching the waves crashing against rocks, walking, returning to the sand...

The water approached and receded, coming close to me as I stood and watched the patterns it formed against the sand. My camera jumped to my face, and I watched the patterns through the lens, snapping photos, watching. The ocean must have decided that I was watching without moving for too long, and the next thing I knew the cold water was kissing my toes. I was happy that my wool socks did their job and kept my wet feet warm!

More photos can be found in my Ocean fascination gallery.


What's that sound? Chirp! chirp!

I was sitting at my computer this afternoon when I heard birds singing. It was a cheerful sound, not isolated, a sound coming from many birds. I headed to the window to see who was visiting, and I found a tree full of robins. Not one, not two, but a flock of robins sitting on many branches, robins chatting, robins singing.

I remember seeing a tree full of robins during the winter last year too. I thought it was a little odd, but my assumption that these rosy-breasted birds disappeared from this area during the cold months was apparently wrong. I found some information on the American Robin on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology "All about Birds" site that indicated that robins spend much of the winter in their breeding range.

I'd like to continue to believe that the presence of robins is a sign of spring - especially since there is a big snowstorm predicted for tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bicycle smiles

January warmth, and dry roads!

The temperature last weekend was more than reasonable for riding, but the roads were dripping, wet and covered with sand and salt. Somehow I couldn't get excited about wandering on my bike knowing that the bike would need a serious cleaning at the end of my ride. Last weekend? I listened to my bikes when they said they didn't care for a bath of salt. It was a walking weekend.

Today brought another dose of winter warmth with temperatures again rising into the mid-40s. And today the roads were perfectly dry. Ah... It felt so good to be rolling down the road, rolling through relative warmth and then getting hit with cold air rising from still snow-covered ground.

Rolling, pedals turning, smiling... a good ride.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Old news

As I trudged out into the rain to grab my newspaper from my driveway, I did a double take. Why are there two newspapers waiting for me?

The first was no surprise; it was today's paper. The date on the second paper? December 16th! It surfaced on the grass to the side of my driveway. That's a sure sign that we had a very snowy early winter. That almost month-old paper must have been buried in snow - both fallen and plowed. It was wrapped in two plastic bags and was dry and readable (even though reading old news wasn't on my list of things to do this morning!).

Funny, I don't even remember a missed paper delivery. I must have called and had it re-delivered.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Waves of cold

I have to keep reminding myself that it is still January, and that our unseasonable warmth is probably going to disappear sooner than I would like. I've adjusted my walking at night layers to take advantage of the warmth to tights, plus a sleeveless long underwear shirt covered by a bright yellow windbreaker. Somehow the extra visibility of a bright jacket appeals to me - even though I'm still wearing my bright blinking lights.

My light layers are right. It takes a few minutes of walking to warm up, but my layers work nicely. Even so, as I was walking tonight I passed through some areas where it felt like a wall of cold enveloped me. In spite of days of above freezing temperatures, there are still piles of snow and ice along the side of the road. And sometimes... the air moving across those piles seems to absorb the cold from that frozen water. Brrr...

Luckily, warmth returns quickly.

Yes, I do like these temperatures! 40s to 50s during the day, low 40s while I'm walking in the early evening. It feels like magic.

Manchester to Manchester?

One of my goals for this winter is to figure out my vacations for the year. Last minute planning worked for 2007, but I prefer to plan early, to have something to dream about, to look forward to (as opposed to dreaming about where I might wander).

I've been dreaming, and I have an early plan for what will likely be my second vacation in 2008. I still need to noodle through some options for a cycling trip for earlier in the year.

Where am I going? Caroline mentioned a photography seminar run by Light & Land in one of our email conversations, and the dreams started. I wandered through the web site, and my eyes were caught by a photography tour in the Lakes District of England. I emailed the organization with some questions, and I received their response. Hmm... Should I fly to England for a 3-day photography tour? I thought, and I thought. I toyed with different vacation options - after all, I have a limited amount of vacation time, and I need (yes, need!) to have some time to wander on my bike in addition to playing with my camera. Hey - it's time to stop thinking and start doing! Decision made; I'm going to be joining Caroline in Light & Land's Lake District photography workshop in September. Ah, a vacation to dream about...

But - I wasn't done thinking yet. Should I travel to England for just three days? I've traveled to the west coast for trips of that length - a little short of the distance to England - but this is going to be a vacation and not just a long weekend. I think I'll fly the Friday before the seminar and spend a few days hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

Before I move off to dreaming of a vacation with my bike for earlier in the year, I started to look at transportation options, and at distances.

The distance doesn't really matter, but my curiosity got the better of me and I looked for a tool to show me point to point distances. I found MapCrow, a travel distance calculator. I suspect the distances shown there are air miles, and it satisfied my curiosity for now. Flying from Boston to Manchester, England shows as 3145 miles (5061 kilometers), and flying from Boston to Los Angeles shows as 2588 miles (4166 kilometers). So my gut feel for distances wasn't too far off.

Manchester to Manhester?
I suppose it's a bit silly, but I thought it would be fun to fly from Manchester, NH to Manchester, England. I live mid-way between two airports, Boston's Logan Airport and Manchester Boston Regional Airport. While it is possible to fly from Manchester to Manchester, the flights between those two cities exceed my annoyance levels. United Airlines flies from Manchester to Chicago to Manchester, but I really don't want to start my trip by flying backwards. Somehow flying 1000 miles to the west just to turn around and fly those same 1000 miles to the east before heading out over the ocean to England just doesn't appeal to me.

OK, OK, I knew before I rambled down the Manchester to Manchester path that I'd probably be flying out of Boston. Manchester is a great choice if there is a non-stop flight from there (on Southwest) to my travel destination, but Boston is the right starting point for this flight. I found two reasonable flight choices - American Airlines via JFK, or British Airways via London. Either way I will only have one plane change. Those travel paths are a little more expensive than the wacky flights that go through Chicago, but I'll choose cash over aggravation. I'd rather pay a little more for my plane tickets and spend less time in the air.

I find it amazing that the price of the flight is just over 53% of the total cost of the airfare, with the remaining 47% allocated to taxes and fees.

Rover said he's coming too. He says that he still prefers biking, but he thought that hiking in Death Valley was pretty cool. Oh, you haven't met Rover? He jumped into my panniers in Vermont just after I started my cross-country adventure back in 2002, and he's been traveling with me ever since.

Hey all - this is Rover! England? I went to Ireland with Denise back in 2003, and we haven't crossed the Atlantic Ocean since then. Wow! now I get to go to England too! I've asked Denise to bring her baby camera for me to play with; this dSLR is kind of clunky for me. After all, it's bigger than I am.

Hiking and camera play sounds good, but I want to travel somewhere on a bike too. So Denise - keep unwinding the thoughts wrapped around all of your potential cycling destinations.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A January treat

An unusual January day with the temperature rising to 65 degrees, comfort, warmth... What a nice change! Today was a real gift; many thanks are on their way to the weather wizard from me.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Before the gray

The forecast for today? Partly sunny, with a high of 43 degrees.

The early morning sky showed patterns of white against a beautiful shade of blue. Luckily my camera screamed to play early today since the blue and white quickly morphed to an overall sense of gray.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Transformation to water

Temperatures in the mid-30s felt positively warm after our dip into single digits this week.

A day to walk, or a day to ride? Neither was ideal. The roads were mainly dry, but much narrower than normal. The inch or two of snow that fell on New Year's day crusted over and froze, so off-road walking surfaces were a bit slippery.

I chose walking, twice. I walked in the morning for exercise, fast walking along the plowed edges of the road. And in the afternoon I wandered to Harold Parker State Forest for a bit of walking with my camera.

I was rewarded by scenes of transformation, melting, patterns, ice against water.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Brilliant, painted

Sun rising, highlighting the sky... bands of clouds, glimpses of blue, colors, colors. The sky was painted in brilliant shades of pink and orange as the sun crept higher.

Captured - memories only.

Yes, I do wish that I had a camera with me. But that beautiful sky painting was in my eyes as I was hurtling down the expressway. Even if my camera had been by my side, I would not have stopped there. It's really not good behavior to stop on a limited access highway for a little camera play, is it?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Drop, pop!

Another seemingly wacky weather forecast looms...

Temperatures dropping, dropping, and then a forecast of popping back up to non-seasonal levels... Today and tomorrow? It is definitely winter.

Tonight the temperature is supposed to dip to 6 degrees, and the wind is going to blow. Tomorrow? It's supposed to be cold, with a forecasted high of 14 degrees. And then... it's time to jump. To jump to the low 40s for the weekend, and the low 50s on Monday and Tuesday. Yes, I know, it's a forecast, somewhat more than a guess, but it still feels like a guess. The thought of warmth feels good, especially with the cold air whipping around tonight. I can dream, can't I? It's really tempting to take Monday & Tuesday off, but it's too early in the year to start burning vacation days.

Back to today... Walk? Or no walk? I was feeling a bit lazy when I got home this evening, but given the forecast, I figured I'd better head out because tomorrow might be too cold. I dressed in layers and layers and layers, and I stayed pretty warm. When I got home my poor feet started tingling, which means that I could have made a better footwear decision. Hiking shoes and double socks would have been a better choice than my usual running shoes and single socks. Tomorrow...

The temperature when I got home? It was 17 degrees, with the wind chill taking the feel down to 1 degree Fahrenheit - the equivalent of -17 Celcius. 17, - 17. Brrr... cold!

Tea, glorious tea

A cup of good, strong tea... that's a good start to the day, a comfort drink.

My current favorite, Taylor's of Harrogate's Scottish Breakfast tea is sometimes hard to find. Whole Foods is my normal source, but if it's out of stock at the local Whole Foods then I order it from English Tea Store.

Last week it was time to place an order. As I was wandering through the site I saw another tea from the UK that looked interesting. Choice is always good; it was time to experiment. Two days after placing my order, a box of tea was waiting at my door - a new stash of Scottish Breakfast tea, plus my latest experiment, PG Tips.

Ah, that's good! I think it will become another favorite...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ice magic

A day off meant that I had time for a good long walk while there was still light in the sky, My intent was to walk with my camera, but then snow started flying and I rethought my plans.

Snow, big flakes, wet snow flying... Walking worked nicely, feet crunching in the snow that lined the roads. My fleece cap was covered with white by the time I returned home, and my shell and tights were both dripping water. It was a good call to leave the camera home.

Home again, dry, and warmed by a good strong cup of tea, I watched the snow through my windows. There were sights that captured my eyes, snow and ice dripping from plants and trees. It was time for a quick trip outside, camera in hand, to capture magic in ice...

Look up!

Today was one of those days when I was very happy that I had a camera at hand.

I stopped at the post office before heading out walking, and as I was leaving the building I looked up to see a curved piece of metal hanging from the ceiling. Curved, bright, reflecting everything in sight. Decoration? Or a handy way to let people see around corners?

It fascinated me enough to send me out to my car to grab my camera. I don't have a fish-eye lens, but the effects of the mirrored curves were quite interesting. I think I'm going to have to return with my camera at least one more time; next time I'm going to bring a longer lens.