Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Late, late late!

I woke up with a start this morning, looked at the clock, and jumped out of bed. I was sure, positive, that I was going to be late for work since I opened my eyes at exactly the time that I usually head out in the morning. I thought that I forgot to set my alarm.

It took me a minute to realize that it was Saturday, a day with no set time to rise, a day to relax. Ah...

Wow, that was disconcerting. Does that ever happen to you?
shadows on snow

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slip slide

It was white outside, a good day to work at home. White, snow, changing...

I took a mid-day break for a walk. A hawk was sitting high in a tree, surveying the world through quietly falling snow. I walked under his perch, walked a little further and turned to see him from the front. What a beautiful bird!

The snow fell on dry ground, and yet, it was slippery. It almost seemed as if there was a sheen of ice under that snow. On plowed surfaces, my footing was steady. On previously shoveled sidewalks wearing a coating of new snow? Slippery!

By the time I returned home, the soft snow had turned into some other form of frozen precipitation, sharp pellets hitting my face. And now? It's raining. Snow, accumulating snow, freezing rain, freezing fog, outright rain. Brrr...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hey weather wizard!

Is it my fault? Did you paint the weather map a deep shade of blue because I washed the salt off of my car to let the bright blue color of my 4-wheeled transportation shine without a covering of dirty white? There must be a better reason than that for your current plans to dump (multiple) inches of snow on us on Wednesday. Is there a reason you can share with us?

I watched the National Weather Service paint the map in colors as the hours passed today. At first the western part of Massachusetts was painted deep blue. The forecast for the Boston area did call for snow, but there was no indication of the possible depth. That dark blue hue on the weather map edged closer to the coast, surrounding the Boston metropolitan area but not covering it. And then... I looked again, and that dark blue paint now covers almost the entire state. Yikes!

weather map
Forecast map courtesy of the Boston, MA office of the National Weather Service

Hey weather wizard! What happened to our coastal New England weather eased by the calming influence of the ocean? It seems to be missing this year. And oh! it appears that you plan to grace us with snow once again.

I'm so glad that I can work at home on snowy days like the one we expect on Wednesday.


...the saga of the robins

Yes, I did know when I saw a flock of robins on Saturday that we are still in the depths of winter. And I do remember seeing robins at this time of year for the past several years. I was still puzzled, still thinking that these cheery birds fly south for the winter, and yet knowing that something in that premise really didn't work.

Many thanks to Bob for pointing me to an article in today's Boston Globe titled Roosting robins: Harbingers of spring?. It's an interesting read, pointing out that our New England robins are probably further south now, and that the cheerful visitors that I saw on Saturday may in fact be from somewhere north of here. Wherever they are from, their presence here on cold winter days must be a tribute to the hardiness of these beautiful creatures.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Robins always shout spring to me. On this cold and snowy January day as I was walking, looking around, listening... I saw my first robins of the year. They were hopping about, from shrub to snow, and back into the air. Chirping, hopping, bringing hopes of spring. (And yes, I have accepted the fact that winter will be with us for weeks yet. It was still good to see my first robins.)

snow & shadows

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Counting the days

Last week I decided it must be time for a quick escape from our northeast winter. I didn't need to think too long about where I was going.

Can you guess where I'm headed? Yes, of course, with my camera, and my silly red traveling companion (Rover) too!

My glimpse of Red Rock Canyon on the last day of my trip west to Death Valley was just enough to whet my appetite. I need to wander there on two feet, and I know that Red Rock Canyon deserves some serious camera play. It will just be a quick trip, a several day escape to the southwest. I'm counting the days until I leave, two weeks from now...

If you're curious about where I'll be wandering, here's a sample photo from my visit there in November 2008.

Red Rock Canyon

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Covered in white

Hmmm... somehow a picnic doesn't seem like it would be a very good idea right now, does it? Hey - that's a lot of snow!

picnic tables in the snow

almost completely frozen river

Friday, January 16, 2009

Morning mist

An early morning blue sky decorated a cold, cold morning. As I drove to work, I looked over a field covered in snow. White on the ground, a bright blue sky, and in the middle? There was a cloud of bright white fog hanging over the snow, a beautiful sight, a sight to remember.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's really important?

I am in awe of the skills of the pilot who set a disabled plane down in the Hudson River this afternoon. Yes, I'm sure there was some luck involved, luck in being in a place where it was possible to maneuver a soft landing (of sorts). There were skills involved too, and presence of mind.

A controlled crash, with no loss of life. That puts perspective on the little everyday annoyances, doesn't it? What's really important? Life, respect, perspective. I'll try to remember this when little annoyances come my way, to remember to brush them aside, to live my life facing forward and right-side-up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fluffy, white

Snow, snow, snow... the snow that fell overnight was light, fluffy, and on the lower end of the predicted depth. It was cold today, but still a good day for walking.

It's my decision...

I just don't understand why people aren't willing to listen to a point that someone else (me, in this case) is trying to make.

A little background... I've been posting journals on crazyguyonabike and its sister site for quite a while now. I've found crazyguyonabike to be a good home for (bicycle) touring journals because of the community. My journals are available for friends and family, but I also get feedback from other touring cyclists, people who may know more about the area where I am traveling than I do.

I've always included photos in my journals on both sites. For the last year plus, those photographs have included a small corner (copyright) watermark. You've seen the watermarks on my photos here; I'm using the same small watermark on photos in my journals. My preference would really be to use img src statements to pull the (watermarked) images from my photo galleries, but the two sites do not allow use of that statement. All photographs must be uploaded directly to the site. I've been applying a watermark, saving a low resolution version of the photos, and uploading them to my journals. I'm well aware that photos can easily be grabbed from the web, and that watermarks along the edge can be cropped. I'm not willing to look at photos with watermarks splashed across the image, so I won't do that to my own. I know that my watermarks offer minimal protection, but at least I know that my name is on my photos as I've shared them.

The webmaster came out with the statement Friday night that he hates watermarks and that he asks that people not use them. I posted a polite response explaining that I use the watermarks as a statement that the photos I posted belong to me, that I hold the copyright on them. I offered to remove the photos from the site, but was told they could stay. Hmmm... Then other posters proceeded to tell me that they think my watermark ruins "my excellent photos" (their words, not mine!) but that they think I should leave them published on the site. Huh? I'm sorry, I just don't understand. If they hate them that much, why don't they want me to unpublish the images? And these people don't have a clue about copyright (or ownership) issues. They just seem to be going with the flow. Every person who jumped into the forum discussion agreed with the initial post - except for me. Someone did send me a behind-the-scenes message supporting my point of view, and yes, I really did need that support.

For now, I think I'll just leave things as they are. I don't really want to remove the photos from my journals, but I won't be adding any more there since such a strong statement was made about not using watermarks. And I will not place images in a journal without a watermark. Maybe the prevailing attitude toward watermarked images will change, but I suspect it won't.

I need a home for my journals, and I'd really like to include some photos with my words. The bulk of my photos will remain in my photo galleries, but I think it helps people to look over my shoulder when I combine words and photos. Hmmm... what to do?

Today I spent some time turning a blog on its head. Blogs normally show the latest post first, and for my journals I really prefer that they read like a book with the latest post last. I took my last journal, and I created an upside-down blog, a blog that flows in the direction I like. My first attempt?

Check out A return to death in blog form.
I may replace the Table of Contents with a longer introduction, leaving the copy of the Table of Contents in the sidebar but not on the main page. But I think I've done enough for today. I'd love to hear what you think about the format; there is a guestbook, and comments can be placed on each post. (A quick warning about comments though; I have them set to moderated so I can head off any spam posts.)

Thanks for reading my rant...

Good timing - my sister just sent me an email, closing with what I believe is a very appropriate quote from Dr. Seuss:
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
I guess I really need to take that advice! I threw the words into Wordle to create what I think I should post on the wall right in front of my eyes.

Image created by

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Playing with words

I owe thanks to Lori for her blog entry pointing me to a very interesting word tool. In the words of its creator,

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.
I pointed Wordle at my blog. I didn't limit it to any particular entries, but based on the cloud it created it clearly used the entries for the past several weeks, the entries since the weather wizard gave us the gift of winter.

I wonder what a wordle of my blog will look like a month from now...

Image created by

Hey Lori - thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Winter sounds

I opened the door this morning to hear crystalline sounds, quiet but crisp, sounds of frozen precipitation. Snow is quiet, but freezing rain? It creates a kind of quiet music, a subtle background sound, almost a click, click...

Isn't it nice that today's technology allows me to choose to work at home on iffy, slippery travel days? I'd much rather settle in to work without braving icy roads.

snow crystals

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Seeking ice & moving water

It was a sunny day, sunny with a bit of chill hanging on. I headed out in search of fast-moving streams decorated with a bit of ice. That meant traipsing through the woods, following trails that others had walked before, wandering into deeper snow while watching the edge of the water, trying to make sure that there was land under my feet and not water. After all, the temperature was a bit too chilly for wading!

snow, ice, & water

ice over moving water

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Icy welcome

Brrr! Snow yesterday, cold, cold, cold today... I waited until it warmed up to 12 degrees before I headed in to Boston to do some walking. I wanted to see the First Night ice sculptures, so a wander from Copley Square, through the Public Garden, and on to the Boston Common was in order.

Boston First Night 2009 ice sculpture

It was definitely a day to bundle up, and I did very well. I think I've finally got my winter layers down. I had so many layers on that I thought I must look wider than normal, but look! Just my normal self, reflected in a window splashed with a bit of salt from the roads. My only issue was my fingers. They would have been warmer than warm if I'd been wearing my heavy mittens, but since I insisted on wandering with my camera (set on manual), I needed to be able to change the settings on the camera. Fleece finger-free gloves with a pop-over mitten top did a decent job; toward the end of my wander I felt the cold though. Brrr!

self portrait (from across a road!)