Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cool, gray, wet...

Ah, a quiet day... It was a gray, wet, cool day, and as much as I would have enjoyed another sunny (rideable) day, today was a sort of a gift. It gave me an excuse for a low key, stay-at-home plus walk in the rain kind of day.

purple crocus

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who are you?

Friday... it was a good day to work at home, to escape the activity level at the office, to be able to focus on work with few interruptions. (Why few, and not none? Our use of instant messaging for work purposes means that I'm never totally disconnected.)

Quiet hours, working, and later... an opportunity for a ride. It was a glorious early spring day, with sunshine and a crisp but comfortable temperature. As I rolled along the road, I stopped to chat with these beautiful creatures. It still feels strange to see what is essentially a farm plunked down in a very residential area, but I always enjoy stopping to chat with the animals. When I first stood next to the fence, I could see the animals (I think they are alpaca) looking at me. A couple of them decided to move closer, and I could almost hear a curious question, "who are you?".

alpaca staring at a 2-legged creature

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Somehow, patterns in purple keep reaching out to me. Purple, white, random stripes, beautiful crocus, a sign of early spring, smiles...

crocus in purple & white

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are these fares fair?

It's past time for me to have my 2009 vacation plans in order, and yet... It's been a winter of wandering the web, dreaming, thinking, considering, and not making a definite decision. My thought of the moment is that I'll be wandering off to Newfoundland, a very large island, one that is a large number of miles from home.

I think that I'd like to spend some time in Gros Morne National Park on the western side of Newfoundland, and I'd like to wander at Cape Breton Highlands National Park on the eastern end of Nova Scotia. That makes me lean towards a land and sea journey as opposed to a flight. If I fly, it will probably be a Newfoundland-only trip, and honestly? The air fare is a bit outrageous. The price of the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland seems reasonable to me, but the ferry on the end closer to home is a bit pricey. Hmmm...

I'm still considering 2 options - to stay on dry ground from home to the east end of Nova Scotia before I roll aboard a ferry, or to start my trip with a ferry ride from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

You do want to know what prompted my question "are these fares fair?", don't you?

The ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia covers 180 nautical miles in about 5 1/2 hours, while the ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland covers 92 nautical miles in 4 1/2 to 6 hours. That's assuming that I sail from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland during the day because the night crossing is said to take 4 1/2 to 8 hours. I wonder why...

Oh, you want to know how I came up with the nautical miles? I played with Daft Logic's Google Maps Distance Calculator, a nice little tool.
But back to the ferry fares... I was a bit blown away when I saw the rates for the two ferries. I suppose the Portland to Yarmouth ferry should cost more since it covers more water.

From Portland to Yarmouth, it is $164 for my car, plus a $25 fuel surcharge, and $99 for me, a total of $288 in US dollars. The ferry between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is much more reasonably priced, at $88.84 for my car, $31.34 for me, a total of $120 in Canadian dollars - which at today's exchange rate (according to is $97 USD. That's quite a price difference, isn't it? I can understand the Portland to Yarmouth fare being twice as much given the distance and the faster boat, but almost three times?

OK, OK, it's not really about the money - that just rubbed me the wrong way. As I look at a map, I realize that I'd like to do some wandering on the Bay of Fundy side of Nova Scotia, territory that I didn't cover on my two-wheeled wander there back in 2006. (And I'm amazed at how fast time has flown; it doesn't seem possible that trip was three years ago!) So if this becomes my long trip for 2009, it's likely that I'll take the Cat from Portland to Yarmouth, then return home by land once I do a two-way water trip to Newfoundland.

Gros Morne & Cape Breton Highlands, playing with cameras, hiking, and a bit of biking? It's still a dream, but it is a dream that is starting to feel like it just may become reality.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zappos rocks!

Last night at around 8 o'clock I decided I needed a new pair of shoes. Yes, I know, need is relative, and I guess I should use the word wanted, not needed. But still... I placed an order at Zappos last night thinking that my new shoes would show up on my doorstep on Thursday or Friday. Imagine my surprise to find new shoes waiting for me when I got home after work today. That's fast delivery. I even looked at the label on the box to see if the shipment address was local. Nope, Kentucky, not local.

Happy feet!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A purple greeting

Last Monday there was a late-season but serious snowfall. More than four inches of that cold white icy substance covered the ground before the storm had passed out to sea. Today? There is still snow in places, bodies of water are still covered with ice.

There is a strong sign of spring too... I saw my first crocus of the year, beautiful purple and yellow flowers emerging.

purple crocus, a sure sign of spring

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bicycle wheels rolling

Today dawned with the promise of relative warmth, and dry roads too.

This is the first winter in a long time when my bikes didn't call out to be ridden. Somehow riding in the cold on roads leaking snow-melt and scattered with sand and salt didn't appeal to me this winter. But today? Today felt like (and was) a turning point.

It was a great day for the first ride of the season, of the year. There is snow in the woods, ice on the ponds, but there is ground clear of white too. And oh! it felt good to be riding!

quizzical look on the face of an alpaca

This alpaca lifted his head from feeding to look at me, perhaps wondering about the two-legged creature traveling on two wheels.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

From snow to cold sunshine

This has been a changing weather week, with snow on Monday followed by a rainy day followed by cold sunshine. The snow is disappearing much faster than (it did) earlier in the season, but there is still ice.

Ice melting, water emerging, reflections of trees and a clear blue sky...

ice & reflections

Monday, March 09, 2009

Snow again...

It is still winter, no matter how much I want the season to turn, to welcome the spring. And it was another snowy Monday...

snow coats the trees & the ground

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A little magic

What luck! It was a weekend of two sunny and relatively warm days, good days for walking by the sea. I was planning to wander near home today, but the ocean called to me once again. I headed to the New Hampshire coast to spend some more time walking along the ocean, visiting a pair of mute swans, talking to other people out enjoying the day.

And look - my camera caught a little bit of magic! I have to admit that it took me a while to realize what had jumped in to my camera. I'm always fascinated by the mute swans, watching them paddle, turning their heads, looking around.

When I first saw this photo I almost deleted it. There was something odd there, very odd. I saw a muted triangle of white to the right of the swan's head. What is that? I looked closer, and closer yet. Do you see the feet? And the long, long wings? Somehow my camera captured a sea gull, flying quickly past the slowly paddling mute swan.

mute swan with a blink of an eye image of a flying gull

Can you see the sea gull?

Newspaper woes

Sunday morning, home, relaxing with a nice hot cup of tea and the Sunday newspaper...

But hey - what happened to today's Boston Globe? The paper has been going through some transformations over the past few months, slimming down, consolidating features. Today's paper must have been the direct result of that; for a Sunday paper it was positively skinny, and I was finished reading it in not much more time than it takes to read a week-day edition. I know, I can get my news fix online, but somehow I still prefer to read a newspaper.

Maybe I'm a little bit stuck in the past. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in wanting my daily newspaper fix; I wonder what kind of withdrawal symptoms folks in Denver went through when the Rocky Mountain News published their last paper at the end of last month. I'm hoping that the Boston Globe is here for a long time to come.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Soon to be owned by birds

Ah, a day of (relative) warmth, a day to believe that spring might be coming, a day for wandering...

Snow on Monday and a cold, cold start to the week made me doubt the calendar. That made today a special day, a good day for walking along the edge of the ocean. The beach at Parker River is scheduled to close in just three short weeks, hopefully to provide a nesting ground for piping plovers.

From the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge web site: "Each year the entire 6.3 miles (10.1 kilometers) of refuge beach is closed to all public entry beginning April 1 to provide undisturbed nesting and feeding habitat for the piping plover, a shorebird species threatened with extinction. Portions of the beach not being used by the birds may be reopened beginning July 1. Typically all sections are reopened by mid-late August."
Today was a good day to sneak in before the birds, to walk the beach, to listen to roar of the waves.

Before the birds take over...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Behind the snow bank

Plowed snow is still piled high, in spite of the warming days late in the week. Tree branches reach above the snow banks, decorating the late day colored sky.

tree branches against a lste day sky

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Back to winter

Friday's warmth faded quickly, and now? Snow is back once again. Today the snow was continuous but light and gentle. It sounds like tonight and into mid-day tomorrow will be a different story, with predicted accumulations of 3 to 7 inches overnight and another 3 to 7 inches during the day. Snow, white, beautiful, making travel difficult...

footsteps in snow