It looks like Spring has taken a hike again.

04-19-15

Well, I took a hike too … down to Council Point Park. It was a chilly one at best.

Although the last two warm and sunny days were perfect in every way, today was blustery and cold, so I was back in a hat, heavy coat and gloves. Since yesterday, I noticed that the lackluster landscape at the Park is very slowly coming to life. The trees are full of pale green buds but no leaves yet. The grass is even greening up. Those straw-colored reeds in the marshy area of the Creek have withstood the Winter and were waving wildly in the wind. I saw some splish-splashing going on in the Creek, though no geese or ducks were present, so I walked slowly down the embankment. I thought I might see some frogs or turtles nipping at the surface of the water, but all I saw were the rings remaining where they had come up for air, then quickly submerged again.

There were a few new dabs of color here and there in the neighborhood besides just those orange and white construction barrels. The kids pulled out the pastel chalks that had been buried beneath the goodies in their Easter baskets and they took to the sidewalks. The handiwork of those budding chalk artists was everywhere, including hopscotch squares on uneven sidewalks, where a hop, step and a jump should be taken at your own risk

All those multi-colored chalk flowers and squiggles and doodles paired nicely with the turquoise lawn patch that was everywhere. It appears that alot of homeowners are hopeful that magic mixture will take root during our two days of rain they are forecasting.

So, as to those Facebook computer funnies about Spring loading slowly – it’s true. Mother Nature is doing one step forward, two steps back.

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I must admit I had zoom envy.

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And, it was not that I coveted a fancy-schmancy sports car like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.

Nope, not at all.

What I did want though was a new digital camera with 12X zoom.

There … I said it out loud.

My friend and neighbor Marge and I have taken multiple excursions to Bishop Park in Wyandotte, or beautiful Elizabeth Park in Trenton, for the sole purpose of taking in the scenery and snapping countless photos while we were there.

When we returned home, after uploading the pictures to our respective computers, we exchanged our photos taken of the same scenery.  Sadly, the subjects in my photos looked like specks, but Marge’s subjects were up close and personal.

Because inquiring minds want to know, I asked about her secret for her stunning photos.

“It’s my 12X zoom” she whispered in a hushed tone.

“Oh, I get it” I said.

So, I often used her pictures instead for my posts, and decided along the way that I had zoom envy.

Yesterday, I watched a video on the “Today Show” Facebook site how age 60 is the new 50.  Well, that’s cool, especially since I’m headed in that direction.  I figured with all the vim and vigor coming down the pipeline, surely this ol’ gal needed a treat for herself and her blog readers.

I had originally intended to be part of a walkathon late morning at Council Point Park.  A few weeks ago the marquis at Memorial Park caught my eye when the word “walkathon” flashed on the digital display.  I had to stand there patiently, while I waited for all the upcoming events and a picture of Mr. Sun proclaiming the current temperature and date and time, to find out the specifics.

But, there were no specifics, save for the date: April 18th at 11:00 a.m. at Council Point Park.  Well, that message really piqued my interest since it was at my regular stomping grounds, so I thought I’d see what charity I could benefit and participate in a marathon, even if I could only finish part of it.

Last year I toyed with the idea of walking in a 5K marathon in Wyandotte but it was way too early in the season and I was not ready to walk 6+ miles in early May.

When I got online later, I started noodling around the City website, and their Facebook counterpart, in an effort to glean more info, but could find nothing.  I felt like a reporter wanting to know the facts and details like  “who, what, where, when, why and how?”

A few phone calls later, I spoke with our brand-new councilman in Lincoln Park who told about the fundraiser and he gave me a website to go to.   Money is tight for the City of Lincoln Park and we have an emergency manager.  A few years ago they cut the Memorial Day Parade, but reinstated it after residents complained.  The fundraiser stems from a desire to build a permanent float for the parade.  The walkathon distance was 1½ miles … one loop around the entire Park.  They wanted participants to get 10 pledges at $5.00 apiece.  I don’t like to solicit people, so that was that.  I decided to just wait until later in the year and participate in a marathon for a charity and just make a donation on my own behalf.

So, instead I arrived at Council Point Park before the rest of the crowd got there.  It was a beautiful morning, warm and sunny, and there was only one walker and a couple riding their bikes, so it was quiet and peaceful – just like I like it.

I hadn’t been there in a few days, and had a different coat on, thus, I hadn’t toted along treats for the squirrels.  So, I found myself apologizing for my inconsiderate behavior, when a passel of peanut pals followed me for nearly a half-loop, despite no handouts.  They were persistent and I kept stealing a glance behind me, hoping they’d give up, but no such luck.  Note to self:  don’t forget to take double peanuts tomorrow since that’s what you said you’d bring and they’ll be there waiting on you – waiting and remembering.

I got my 3 ½ miles in and arrived home to grab a quick swig of chocolate milk and be on my way to Best Buy.

I was a woman with a purpose and the purpose was maximum zoom.  My sales girl heard me out, nodded sagely and said she understood completely about my zoom envy.  I told her “I want my readers to see the whites of those squirrels’ eyes when I post a picture with my blog” and she totally recognized the importance of that statement.  She then steered me in the right direction toward the big guns in the digital camera department.

So, ten minutes later I was a happy camper.  I have 12X zoom, I can make a mini movie and I got it on sale.  It’s all good.  Now to sit and read the manual and absorb it.  That will have to wait ‘til after Spring cleaning is done because otherwise I’ll just have a one-track mind in the meantime.  So I’ll dangle that zoom-enhanced digital camera, like a carrot, before me ‘til I finish up my chores.

Stay tuned to see how I do on my self-imposed first assignment, which will occur after all the pesky April showers have given us the beautiful May flowers and the baby goslings and ducklings are running footloose and fancy free through the dandelions at Council Point Park.

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A cast-off–your-coat-and-cast-your-cares-away-kind of day.

04-17-15

Today was like a breath of fresh air in this Spring which has dragged its feet … that is, until today.

It was a perfect Spring day – the kind that poets crow about and painters pick to feature on their canvas.

When I left in the early morn there was heavy dew on the grass and there were puddles galore in the street from last night’s rain.

The air was still except for the twittering of the songbirds hidden high in the trees.  A few sparrows escaped the clan and instead gathered to bathe in the pools of rainwater.

It was peaceful as I walked past the stately homes on Emmons Boulevard.

I saw a man packing the trunk of his car with golf clubs.  He saw me and gave me a sheepish grin, so I asked if he was playing hooky and he simply said “yup” flashing a mouthful of gleaming teeth.  I thought it would be pretty soggy out there on the golf course, but kept that comment to myself.

A pair of squirrels were playing hide-and-seek on a neighboring lawn, and their fur was wet and matted down from romping in the now-tallish and sopping wet grass.

There were countless iridescent trails left behind by slugs or snails and I crossed the path of at least a half-dozen worms that wiggled across still-damp sidewalks, traversing the pavement to reach the dew-laden grass.

I resisted the urge to scoop up one longish worm which I actually stepped over.  It was taking its good old sweet time crossing my path and I saw a pair of robins licking their chops in anticipation of their breakfast.

I was mindful of the huge magnolia tree that I’ve been watching the past week.  The first hint of pale pink buds was evident.  They have not yet unfurled.  When they do, I must take a picture before a gusty wind scatters them hither and yon.

The twitters and tweets intensified as I walked underneath the canopy of trees which line the Boulevard.  I wondered how long before the leaves would come out and obliterate all the birds and their nests.  Then it will seem like the trees are singing on their own.

Just as I was musing over that thought, I heard a sharp yelp and it took me aback.  It pierced the air amidst the symphony of whistles and birdsong and sounded like a dog in distress.  I stopped in my tracks and looked around, but could see nothing.  I started walking again, and there was another sharp yelp.  It was close – in fact the noise seemed to come from the other side of the worn stockade-type fence.  Hoping the animal was not in dire straits, I searched for and found a narrow space to peer through.  What I saw next gave me my smile for the day.

A tan-colored puppy was chasing its tail.  It was going round-and-round at a dizzying speed, and every time he was lucky enough to catch that long tail, he’d nip at the tip.  He must have bitten  down too hard, thinking it was a Milk Bone biscuit perhaps, and he let out a yelp.  Of course, his outburst caused him to lose the grip on his tail.  He looked surprised … like “where did it go?” and soon he began his relentless chase once again.  You couldn’t help but smile at his antics.  Was the weather making him feel giddy like me?

I crossed the bridge into Wyandotte, walked a short piece and double-backed to start walking home.  I chose another route, just as scenic, in a different neighborhood.  I often pass a corner house with a double lot that is filled to capacity with ground cover and different lawn ornaments and garden benches.  While it is a little early for the display, all year-round this house has a flip-top aluminum bin with doggie treats inside.  The sign says “For our friends – please help yourself” – there stood a toy poodle and his pet parent right next to the bin when I rounded the bend.  That little dog’s short and stubby pom-pommed tail was wagging and it was wiggling its whole body in anticipation of the treat.  Its owner fished him out one biscuit and he took it from her palm and it was gone in an instant.  All done; they were ready to move on.

I thought of the children’s’ nursery rhyme about “snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails” as that had been some of the items I saw as I wended my way through Wyandotte.

It was a morning filled with simple pleasures … for each and every one of us.

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Turning 59 … the tooth, er … truth hurts!

04-14-15

Today I turned 59 years old – well, boo hoo to that.

I celebrated by having my semi-annual visit to the hygienist and dentist – how’s that for fun stuff to do on your birthday?

When I scheduled the appointment last year, the hygienist said “will April 14th at 9:00 a.m. work for you?”  I said “sure enough”, so after a few mouse clicks I was scheduled and she went to write out an appointment card.  I waved her off saying “nope, I can remember – it’s my birthday” to which she replied “and you want to spend it at the dentist?”

So, this morning I recalled our conversation as I moseyed along on the mile and half trip to the dentist’s office.

And, then I must admit I got a little sentimental when I remembered a similar conversation I had with my mom on the occasion of my 7th birthday.

I was bemoaning the fact that I got eyeglasses that very morning – the first pair of many and they were downright ugly.  They were that ghastly cat-eye style in a putrid shell pink that was so popular back in the day.  I remember peering at my “new look” in the  mirror with tears streaming down my face and dripping onto the lenses.

I hated those glasses!  I’d push them this way and that, wanting for all the world to push them right off my face so they’d break and I’d be free of them.  I was a tad vain, I must admit.  Those new glasses surely did not help the sorry status of my bangs that were always cut too short or too crooked thanks to the joint effort by my parents when trimming them between regular hair appointments.  I’ve had Facebook dialogue with others whose parents cut their bangs and we all came away with the same question … how could you let us go into the world looking like that?  But I digress.

In retrospect, I don’t know which was worse – those ugly glasses which covered most of my small face, or the fact that I got them on such a hallowed event as my 7th birthday.   My mom, always a fountain of wisdom, told her whining daughter that “over the years, your birthday will become just another day – oh sure, it is fun and games now because you’re seven years old, but you’ll find out what I’m talking about one day” – clearly she didn’t sympathize with me one iota.

Well, her statement made me miffed for sure, and, since I was never permitted to “mouth back” to my parents, I am sure that I just silently stalked off to my room, with a thought bubble over my head like “no way Mommy … that will never be me” … so, fast forward over a half-century later (and cringing while I write the words “a half-century later”), and I was going to the dentist on my birthday, then back home to work.  Yup, a humdrum day at best..

So, again Mom was right.

Now, I like my dentist and his staff.  They are a congenial bunch who always welcome you just as soon as you walk through the door.  I always arrive early to visit and catch up with that crowd and chat about the photos of the staff outings that Dr. Kelly has posted on their office’ Facebook page.  Besides it is alot easier to chitchat before everyone starts hovering over your mouth with their instruments.

Before Dr. Kelly and his crew can even say “open wide”, you must go through a mini physical which takes about 15 minutes.  The final question that is always asked is if anything is wrong with any of your teeth?  This morning they forgot to ask.

For the past four or five weeks I have had a tooth that was bothering me.  Cold milk or clementines straight from the fridge caused me to nearly hit the ceiling.  Grrrrrr!  I’ve been hoping it was not another crumbling cavity which needed a crown as the fix-it to relieve the pain.  I wanted to beat myself up for all those extra-crispy Stouffers pizza breads I ate regularly years ago, that is until Little Caesars “Hot and Ready” $5.00 pizza was introduced.  Woo hoo – you drove up to the window, put down a five-spot, and it was ready for you.  Hot and instant gratification just about five minutes after you decided pizza might be a nice dinner treat.  Good thing because there might have been more cavities crumbling which necessitated new crowns from crunching down on all that French bread pizza.

I really don’t know how I ever got cavities anyway – I rarely, if ever, got to eat candy and I had that nasty annual fluoride varnish applied every year.  I hated that procedure … the horrible smell and the cotton that propped your mouth open so they could paint your teeth – Ugh!

Well, I passed their mini physical with flying colors and after the teeth cleaning, Dr. Kelly’s quick inspection of my teeth indicated I was A-OK.

So I thought to myself “well should I mention the tooth if they didn’t notice it?”  Hmmmmm.  Finally I just blurted out “the tooth hurts” and gestured which one with my index finger.

Then I held my breath.

They both honed in for a closer look.

“So” said Dr. Kelly, “there’s nothing there – nothing is amiss.  The enamel is eroding a little and that comes with age.  You’re good to go; just use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.  I’ll give you some samples, okay?”

I wanted to give him a kiss but figured I still had that bubblegum-flavored tooth polish smeared around my lips and he wouldn’t appreciate my gesture.

I fairly flew out of the seat with exuberance.  I didn’t care if he said my teeth were old – I personally didn’t feel any older.  What’s a calendar date anyway?

So, with that dreaded dental visit over, my brain could now focus on the present as I made the return trip home, this time with a spring in my step I might add.

As to thoughts on growing older … well, now there’s only one more year to go ‘til the big 6-0.

Actually, I had been feeling rather smug since my former high school classmates, who convened for our 40-year reunion in 2013, have kept in touch via a Facebook group since that gathering.  They are in the planning stages for a mass birthday party on Thanksgiving weekend since everyone will turn 60 this calendar year.  I responded to the invitation by saying that I would not be turning 60 for many more months and I am still the youngest one in our class of 613 students.  So, let them eat cake (and ice cream too) and I’ll pass on that gathering.

Now, I’ve always been up front about my age, and my mom would chide me and say “a lady never tells her age” or “why do you want to divulge your age to everyone?”  I concede now that perhaps she had a point and maybe I’ll not be as forthcoming going forward now that this Baby Boomer found out just how many minutes old she really is.  It sure burst my bubble when I hopped onto this site:  http://playback.fm/birthday-song

Okay, Mom … you win this round too.

Above is a picture of yours truly gummin’ it before that very first tooth.  Back then, there were no worries about cavities, crowns, bite splints or braces.  Braces and their trappings, like headgear, rubber bands and a monthly trip to the orthodontist to have your braces pulled tighter …  just another indignity to suffer for the sake of having pretty and perfectly aligned teeth.  I could write volumes about braces, but I’ll save it for another time.  It looks  like my hair didn’t require much maintenance , just a curly-Q on top, fashioned perfectly with a little spit, then a twist and a whole lot of love courtesy of Mom.

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Fifty Shades of Green!

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Wow – there were at least fifty shades of green as I surveyed the lawns while walking around the neighborhood this morning.  This followed four days of heavy rain and two warmish weekend days.

I think old Mother Nature has officially unleashed Spring.

The neighborhood lawns were varied shades of green, as if Mother Nature took tubes of paint and squeezed out a smear of lime green, a smidge of hunter green, a dab of kelly green … even a dribble of jade… all onto her big palette.  Then she went to town with her paintbrush.

Lawn care is really about the “haves” and the “have nots”.  The healthy lawns in early Spring owe their lushness to the people who hire fertilizer services or were out walking behind the spreader on a cold March day filtering those mini nuggets onto a still-frozen lawn where they’d eventually work their magic into the grass blades.  Then, there are the people, like me, who entirely pass up the 4-Step Program for lawn care, and make no apologies for it.  The result is a lackluster-looking lawn.  I used to fertilize regularly, then would scratch my head as to why I wanted the grass blades to grow longer and thicker because I’d have to cut the lawn more.

There was a Spring feel to the air as I walked along in the early morn.  I saw tree dander scattered on the sidewalks but no leafing out on those trees yet.  A couple of forsythia bushes looked ready to burst into bloom any minute.  There were yard waste bags aplenty and lots of folks worked in the yard this weekend as I could smell the freshly raked soil as I walked past the corner yards.  A welcome sight was a back porch adorned with the first annuals of the season – a pair of beautiful pansy bowls.

I breathed in deeply, just taking it all in, but maybe a little too deeply as my nose started twitching like the soft petal-pink noses on those bunnies I usually see cross my path while I am gallivanting on my daily jaunts.  The twitch was soon followed by a sneeze.

Yup, Mother Nature has officially unleashed the pollen as well.

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We were just having a gander at one another …

04-12-15

What a gorgeous day – warm, and the sun was out as well.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  I decided to walk down Emmons Boulevard to the Detroit River for the first time this year.  This journey caused me to cross the footbridge over the Ecorse Creek at the Wyandotte and Lincoln Park border.  I decided to meander this way because I had some old bread and was sure that some of my fine-feathered friends would be hanging out in the marshy area by the bridge.

Well, he caught my eye right away … or, perhaps I should more accurately state that he saw me first.  There I was, casually tossing bread out to his brethren and idly watching both geese and ducks paddling over to nibble on those crusts which floated along the surface of that somewhat nasty Creek water.

Evidently, he was the “lookout” gander and had positioned himself above the berm and surveyed everything going on below his high perch.  He looked like a king surveying his fiefdom, only this domain was that expanse of marshland that extended beyond the berm.

I glanced his way surreptitiously a couple of times, and noted that for every handful of bread tossed out I received the stink eye from him.  It was not as if I was clunking those birds with bread chunks, so I really thought the occasional honking, hissing and wing flapping on his part was a little melodramatic.  I decided on the spot that his over-the-top actions were a good example of a goose with his gander up.

I guess I somehow had offended him and ran “afowl” of his trespassing rules.

After the tendering of the tidbits was finished, I leaned over the water, resting my elbows on the metal railing, to watch the mass feeding.

As I went to move on, he seemed to relax a bit, but I couldn’t help myself – I crossed the bridge and just had to look back, only to find that his long neck was swiveled around watching me as I passed the “Welcome to Wyandotte” sign.

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Spring: Is there an app for that?

04-08-15

I awoke to the pitter patter of rain AGAIN and temps in the mid-30s.  Well, those pesky April showers are sure to be expected, but temps just above freezing?  Mother Nature’s memory has clearly gone kaput because she has forgotten what the “real April” is supposed to be like.

The rain stopped, and after it finally lightened up outside, I peered through the peep hole and it looked promising.  I opened the front door to get a better look, thinking I’d dash out to the car and run it a few minutes, then maybe … just maybe, get in a petite walk as well.  The pavement was mostly dry, but when I looked over to the next block, there were dark and brooding clouds in an already gray sky, so it didn’t look too promising.  Before I could contemplate my journey, suddenly a jagged streak of lightening lit up the gray sky followed by the meanest crack of thunder I’ve heard in awhile.  In fact, it was so loud it made me nearly jump out of my skin.  I figured it was the precursor for round #2 of the rain, and besides … I was not going to make Buddy an orphan by getting hit by a bolt of lightning.  Sure enough, I closed the door and walked down the hall and the sky opened up with a pounding rain.  Great weather … if you’re a duck.

Whether the weather be fine, Whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not ~Author Unknown

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