Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I can hear the wind.

I hear the sound of wind whirling, moving tree branches.
I see the wind picking up powdery snow, building drifts.
I feel the wind against the exposed skin of my face.

I hear the crunch of snow beneath my feet.

The senses of winter surround me.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Gray sky days often leave me yearning for color.

Greenhouse visits during the winter months help. Here are some tiny flowers in lavender from my visit to Lyman Estate a few weeks back.

tiny flowers in lavender

Thursday, January 29, 2015

water, sand, and snow

A walk on the beach between snow storms provided a view of three elements, water, sand, and snow. The high tide cleans the beach of snow quite quickly.

water, sand, and snow... with cloud decorations

This was taken in between Saturday's snow and Monday's blizzard.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

a splash of pink

After yesterday's blizzard I need a splash of color! This greenhouse-bound bougainvillea in bright pink fills that need (for now).

a splash of pink

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


There's a lot of snow outside!

I headed out for a short walk in the middle of the afternoon, wandering through the college campus next door. The snow was falling, the wind was howling, and brr! It's cold out there!

I want to share our blizzard with you.

introducing January's blizzard, Juno

looking out

It's morning and the blizzard continues...

According to the National Weather Service our current condition is freezing fog. The blizzard warning remains in effect until 1 AM on Wednesday with this forecast summary:

Snow with areas of blowing snow. Areas of fog between 1pm and 4pm. Areas of freezing fog before 1pm, then Patchy freezing fog after 4pm. High near 16. Wind chill values as low as -8. Windy, with a north wind 26 to 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches possible.

Courtesy of the National Weather Service Boston Office

When I opened my front door this morning I saw snow, drifted, blocking the walk.

snow in front of my front door
blocked by snow

Monday, January 26, 2015

what's in a word?

One of the links on the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office page for Boston is a link to an hourly weather forecast graph. Here's the SNOW portion of the graph for the upcoming blizzard:

snow graph

From 5 PM today through 11 PM tomorrow the graph shows OCNL for snowfall.

OCNL? What does that mean?

Gridpoint Forecast Help on the NWS Caribou, Maine page showed me the English translation of the abbreviations:

SCHCslight chance
no chance

Hmm... the top entry in the graph seems like it should be the represent the largest chance of snow. Occasional? Just below the table on the forecast help page I found an explanation:

* Please note that Ocnl (occasional) represents definite snowfall; however, the snowfall may not be continuous but may stop and start at times.

When I looked up the word occasional in a dictionary I found the definition "occurring, appearing, or done infrequently and irregularly" That seems like the opposite of occasional in the context of this gridpoint forecast, doesn't it?

The wording on the blizzard warning seems (to me) to say the opposite:


I would love to know the origin of the use of the word occasional in this context.


Arriving at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge about an hour after low tide I found a line of snowy footprints in the sand, soon to disappear.

snowy footprints

Sunday, January 25, 2015

to Parker River

This morning I was able to feed my desire for a walk on the beach. Low tide was at 9:10 AM; my initial instinct was to drive early to be at the coast an hour before the tide changed directions. After I checked the weather forecast last night and saw that there was a chance of black ice this morning I thought it might be smart to wait a little longer this morning. Instead of leaving the house at an early hour for a weekend day I waited until just after 9.

When I arrived at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge the sky was bright blue with scattered white clouds. As I stood at the Hellcat Wildlife Observation Area chatting with another visitor I watched as the sky to the north changed in an instant to dark gray. It was quite windy and a bit nippy.

I hopped back into my car to drive back up the road to one of the boardwalks to the beach. Just as I grabbed my camera and started to walk the conditions changed - I was pelted with sleet! I kept walking on the snow-covered boardwalk, heading to the beach.

The sleet eventually stopped leaving a magic sky. Looking north there was blue sky and white clouds. Looking south there was a fair amount of gray. In both directions there was beauty.

looking south, clouds in white and gray
looking to the south

looking north, blue sky with clouds
looking to the north

More photos from today's visit can be seen in the gallery Parker River and... 2015.

from watch to warning

I guess we really are going to get a blizzard.

I just checked the forecast on the National Weather Service site; the blizzard watch was upgraded to a blizzard warning at 3:58 PM. Along with the "it's really coming" message, the projected snowfall totals have been increased. The total is now showing as 24 to 36 inches in the area of Massachusetts that I call home. Double yikes!

forecasted snowfall totals for 2015/01/27

uh oh! blizzard watch

As the snow ended yesterday I saw rumblings of an impending storm for Tuesday. My main source of weather forecasts is the Boston office of the National Weather Service but I also follow David Epstein.

The forecast late yesterday showed uncertainty. This morning that changed with a blizzard watch for eastern coastal Massachusetts:


One to two feet of snow? Yikes!

National Weather Service BOSTON forecast map

I've been visiting the new (and experimental) Winter Weather Page on the Boston National Weather Service page. When there is an impending storm there is an interactive maps that show the percentage probability of different depths of snow. Right now it shows a 100% probability that there will be more than 8 inches of snow, a 69% probability of more that 12 inches, and a 51% probability for more than 18 inches.

snow depth probabilities

It look like Tuesday will be a work from home day. I'm so glad to have the ability to work wherever I have my computer and an Internet connection.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

a snowy walk

Snow was falling steadily this morning. When I headed out the National Weather Service website informed me that the current weather was snow and freezing fog. The temperature hovered around the freezing mark making it quite easy to dress for warmth.

I walked in places where the snow hadn't been cleared, along roads that had been plowed, and back to untouched snow again. My snowy walk was a good walk.

falling snow

Curious about the white blotches you see on the photo? Those are big chunky snowflakes!


Here's a splash of purple from last spring to decorate this very snowy day.

tulip in purple

Thursday, January 22, 2015

reflecting sand

I think I need a walk on the beach!

For now I'll be happy looking at a photo that I took a year ago during a walk along the New Hampshire coast as the tide was receding. Perhaps a low tide walk will fit into my wanders very soon...

reflections at low tide

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Flowers fading at the end of their growing season still show a form of beauty.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

two trees

Two trees stand tall, overlooking the ocean at Odiorne Point.

two trees

Monday, January 19, 2015


I can imagine that the edges of these tiny flowers were painted. I love that the pink and green petals are edged in purple.


Many thanks to +Marilyn Benham for identifying this beauty for me. The common name is queen's tears, much easier to remember than the formal name billbergia nutans. It is a form of a bromeliad.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

seeking color

I had a craving for color on this very gray day. As the rain fell this afternoon I headed to Lyman Estate greenhouses in Waltham. I had no idea what would be blooming at this time of year; I was delighted to find a good sampling of flowers and colors.

petals of red

More photos from today's color-seeking exercise can be seen in the gallery greenhouses of Lyman Estate - 2015.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

warm below freezing

It's funny how warm it can feel outside when it's below freezing.

The temperature right now is 27 degrees (Fahrenheit) with a light wind creating a wind chill of 21 degrees. I just returned from my evening walk... quick movements made me toasty enough that I had to pull my hat and gloves off for a few minutes to cool down. Amazing!

shape and color

As we continue to have gray winter days I went looking for some color this morning.

Today's color comes in the form of a photo from last spring, a poppy in pink highlighting the remnants of a poppy that had already dropped its petals.

shape and color

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ice and water

Ice-covered ponds are a sign of the season. This pond is on the inland side of the coast road just south of Jenness State Beach (in New Hampshire). It sports ice with open water near a spillway and yet there were still people playing on the ice.

I love the combination of open water reflecting clouds and ice brushed with snow.

ice and water

Sunday, January 11, 2015

sheathed in ice

It always makes me happy to walk along the ocean. Today I was fascinated to see ice-covered rocks along the edge of the water as I wandered along the New Hampshire coast.

rocks sheathed in ice along the New Hampshire coast

A few more photos from today can be seen in the gallery New Hampshire coast 2015.

no robocalls

Both my home phone and cell phone are on the National Do Not Call Registry but there are still some calls that get through. Reporting the problem callers is something that I try to do, even if the only information I have is the problem phone number. I'm not sure how helpful that is.

I was delighted to read the article Free service helps block out hated robocalls in today's Boston Globe. As soon as I finished reading I ran to my computer to pull up the Nomorobo site. The service is available for Verizon FIOS Digital Voice; I immediately signed up and verified that the service is now active on my phone. Now I just need to wait and see if it works... my fingers are crossed!

The service isn't currently available on Verizon Wireless. Almost all of these annoying calls have been coming in on my FIOS line so I suspect the service I currently have activated will stop most (if not all) of these calls. I plan to keep an eye out for availability on Verizon Wireless as well, maybe someday it will be available.

Update on 22 February:
Since I signed up for this service I've been able to watch as robocalls are picked up automatically. Sometimes I'll be sitting next to a phone that displays the incoming phone number. When I see a number I don't recognize I wait for a second ring. That ring doesn't sound; instead I see the phone as active for a short period of time. The call is intercepted and gone. Awesome!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

a chilly walk

The dangerous wind chill conditions have gone (for now) but temperatures today only reached the low 20s. When the wind was still that felt like a warm walking temperature; when the wind blew, brrr!

I had a good brisk walk under this afternoon's blue sky.

trees standing tall, at Phillips Academy Andover

I find the difference between today's walk and last Sunday's in the same space to be amazing. Today's clear blue skies are quite a contrast to the gray conditions I experienced last week.

Friday, January 09, 2015

color for a snowy day

On this snowy morning I feel the need for some color... here is a splash of pink emerging from a sea of leaves.

emerging pink

I was surprised when I saw this photo. It is a full color photo but it (almost) gives the impression of an image that had been changed to black & white with some selective color. That's definitely not the case.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


On this very cold winter's morning I share a photo of a parrot enjoying warmth.

I loved this resident of Magic Wings. He has a cage but spends much of his time on the outside of the cage - with a sign warning that he doesn't like people close to him. Luckily my camera was wearing a lens that allowed me to stay away!

I'm watching you! You're not going to come any closer, are you?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

light layers

Brr... it's cold outside!

I thought briefly about staying in as the temperature continued to drop and the howling wind added more chill to the air. For those who know me, my decision to walk anyway shouldn't be a surprise.

Luckily I've had some winter days to practice layering before this week's deep freeze hit us. I headed out wearing a number of light but very effective layers. I had warm snow sneakers on my feet, good mittens on my hands, and a fleece-lined winter buff around my neck. I used the hood on my rain jacket to supplement my fleece hat, and light layers on my body kept the rest of me warm. Oh, I guess I should say almost warm - my uncovered face was a bit red when I finished my walk, and it felt quite hot as I adapted to the inside temperature again. Back to normal now...

It was a surprisingly good evening for a walk.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Butterflies like warmth and so do tropical flowers. I was delighted to see these bright pink spiky flowers yesterday.

pink and spiky


The weather wizard delivered on a promise of snow followed by rain but didn't manage to follow through on the promised warmer temperature for today. I would guess we had about 2 inches of snow last night before it turned to rain. That made for messy walking today.

I walked in the woods, along the roads, and occasionally on sidewalks wearing thick layers of slush.

a messy winter's day
photo by phone

Saturday, January 03, 2015

flitter, flutter, butterfly!

On this cold winter's day I was drawn across the state to visit with some butterflies. I headed out early, arriving at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory just after it opened. I stayed for a couple of hours, walking, standing still, watching butterflies at rest and in the air.

butterfly at rest

Click to the gallery flitter, flutter, butterfly! to wander through more photos of butterflies, flowers, and birds from today's visit.

Friday, January 02, 2015


A pop of bright red, a single flower blooms in a sea of silvery leaves.

a touch of red
captured at Longwood Gardens